- Alongside the likes of fabric, DJ-Kicks and Ministry of Sound's Masterpiece, the Watergate mix series is an example of a dying art form. Traditionally, Watergate's mixes have pushed the kind of contemporary tech house readily associated with the Berlin club. Kerri Chandler has developed a close relationship with the venue over the years, making him a natural choice for Watergate 15. But among Chandler fans, the decision brought about a muddled response. While a new mix from the New Jersey native is a rare and exciting thing, Chandler's take on modern-day house leaves something to be desired, as evidenced by the clinical, '90s-revivalist fare that populates his Madtech label. Seeing a tracklist that reaches only as far back as 2009, diehard Chandler fans might dismiss the mix before even hitting play. In truth, they wouldn't be missing much.
What's most disappointing about Watergate 15 is how unrepresentative it is of Chandler's DJ style. Celebrated for their diversity, his sets have always championed a bold panorama of genres, styles and eras. Here though, we're presented with an endless onslaught of peak-time tracks, mixing current house favourites with a slew of flash-in-the-pan cuts from yesteryear, such as Johnny D's "Point Of No Return," a forgotten Jamie Jones remix ("Crewcuts And Curls") and the CD's low point, a soppy, saccharine vocal cut from Berlin producer Nu called "Who Loves The Sun." With nearly three-decades of records at his disposal, Chandler's focus on tracks like these feels bizarre.
Watergate 15 is not a terrible mix. Technically, Chandler's transitions are faultless, and there are some enjoyable points: "Think of Something," one of two tracks he made exclusively for the project, channels the kind of warm, thumping house that made us fall in love with him in the first place. There just aren't enough of these standout moments to carry the CD. The selections feel too safe, too functional. Watergate 15 may be an attempt on Chandler's part to appear fresh and up-to-speed. But by leaning on contemporary imitations of his own pioneering style, he sounds hackneyed instead.
01. Detroit Swindle - Guess What
[2012, Dirt Crew]
02. Headless Ghost - Basik Fire [2013, Clone Royal Oak]
03. Huxley - Like One (Chris Lattner Remix)
[2011, Act Natural]
04. No Artificial Colors feat. Alex Mills - Crying Wolf
05. Kerri Chandler - Think Of Something
06. Alix Alvarez - Fayall (Nathan Barato Edit)
07. Clé - Feel It (Don’t Cha Know)
[2011, Poker Flat]
08. Italoboyz Vs Blind Minded - Sti Drumsy [2013, Superfiction]
09. Johnny D - Point Of No Return
10. Nu feat. Jo Ke - Who Loves The Sun
11. D’Julz - Madness (The Martinez Brothers Feat. Phil Weeks Edit) [2013, Bass Culture]
12. Kerri Chandler feat. Jerome Sydenham – Mama [ Exclusive, unreleased]
13. Renato Figoli - Underpool (Losoul Remix) [2013, Amam]
14. Subb-an - This Place (Nic Fanciulli Remix) [2011, Saved Records]
15. Real Cool - U Know, U Know [2012, Geography]
16. Tom Demac - Crewcuts And Curls (Jamie Jones’ Water Cooler Remix) [2010, Murmur]
17. DJ W!ld – Gorilla [2012, One Records]
18. Shonky - Le Velour [2012, Real Tone]