Mr. G - Retrospective

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  • Colin McBean has had pretty much the same sound for nearly 15 years, which is much more of an achievement than it might sound like. His hard and dusty style of house has fallen in and out of vogue, and there were times when he felt out of date—he once said that hearing Âme's sleek and cinematic "Rej" made him want to throw in the towel—but he always stuck to his guns. This might be because his sound isn't something he chose—it's an extension of his self. McBean says his records are a channel for his most personal experiences in life, from arguments with his "missus" to grief over his close friend Lev Van Delden, whose death from cancer inspired his last album. This goes some way toward explaining why his tracks, despite being club-tailored in a way that can feel utilitarian, end up sounding so sincere. In his recent Machine Love feature, McBean described his production career as a "twisted journey in house—a bass-heavy, twisted journey." Retrospective gives us a close look at the first half of that journey. The two-disc package draws from his output between 1999 and 2007, throwing in a few unreleased tracks along the way. These productions originally came out on a variety of different labels (mostly his own Phoenix G), and touch on some of his other aliases as well, namely Halcyon Daze, Mango Boy and The Reaver. The album is compiled and released by Rekids, who couldn't be better suited for the job: McBean and label-head Matt Edwards are longtime friends and fans of each other's work. The result is a lovingly assembled compilation that gives a flattering portrait of the artist as a young(er) man. McBean's early catalogue has, for the most part, aged very well. Every one of these tracks would work in a club today, and taken as a whole the 21-track collection is an outstanding resource for any house or techno DJ. There's a nice range as well, from disco-flavored bangers like "My Father's Farda (Mr G's Soundboyz Dub)" to more soothing deep house cuts like "Going Home" or "Song For My Cantor," plus tougher techno tracks like the unreleased "Potion" and "Danger." Most importantly, McBean's sense of groove is as strong in these productions as it is today: he has a way of taking linear, locomotive beats and giving them a funky, in-the-pocket feel. Even at such a late stage in his career, it seems like Mr. G is a cult figure today more than ever. Listening to Retrospective, it's not hard to see why.
  • Tracklist
      01. Potion (Unreleased) 02. Eye Poke 03. Lights (G's Out Dub) 04. Hear Me Out 05. Pepsi 06. My Father's Farda (Mr G's Soundboy Dubz) 07. I'm Dirty 08. Did You Know 09. Jet Black 10. Shelter (Unreleased Version) 11. Going Home 12. Song For My Cantor 13. The Day After B 14. Moments 15. Side Winder 16. G's Strings 17. Magic Potion 18. Live And Let Live? 19. Mmmm 20. Gladesmen 21. Danger (Glyph Theme)