- The name said it all. When London DJs Terry Francis, Nathan Coles and Eddie Richards started their Wiggle night in 1994, they wanted to inject a dose of gyrating low-end into 4/4. It was all about the basslines, as Richards said in his recent RA Exchange. 20 years on, those basslines are still there, but they now sound straitjacketed by the conventions of tech house.
The irony of tech house is that, though it began as deliberate attempt to mix genres, it became as inward-looking as any of the purists it railed against. It seemed like a good idea at the time: spinning house tough enough for the techno boys and techno groovy enough for their girlfriends to get down to. Yet when tech house became a sound in itself, the results often felt like a half-arsed compromise.
You can't hold the Wiggle lads responsible for the tepid stuff churned up in their wake—indeed, their Wiggle Recordings label has put out some excellent tech house records, like 2000's Discfunktional from Coles and Francis as The Delinquents. But their 20th anniversary mix, featuring 20 unreleased tracks from Wiggle affiliates like D'Julz, Pure Science and Saytek, is an example of the raw sonics and pedestrian rhythms that often make tech house something of a curate's egg.
Slamming straight in with no sense of build-up or buggering about, Alex Arnout and Temp O'Neil's "Several Ways" has the warped vocals and slivers of melody that are a defining feature of this mix. On some tracks, like Todd Bodine's "Symphony Of Truth Project," there's simply nothing to sink your teeth into, but in others, such as Just Be's "My New Girlfriend" and the Darren Roach remix of Kenny Raw's "Distorted Reality," you get a sweet taste of soulful vocals or a sharp acid tang, but in general the narrow range of sounds and tempos makes for a pretty monotonous diet.
The mixing is impeccably tight in the way it locks into the groove, but only the the eagle-eared will pick up the barely perceptible shifts in tone. On tracks like Dub Taylor's "Chasing Jean-Claude," there's no sense of climax. With Jay Tripwire and Joeski's "Entranced," the mix finishes as suddenly as it starts. Maybe some find that lack of release tantric, but for the rest of us, Wiggle For 20 Years is bound to be a little unsatisfying.
01. Alex Arnout feat. Tempo O'Neil - Several Ways
02. James Kameran - Ai Weiwei
03. Lo - Waste Of Space
04. D'Julz - Give Me Your Hand
05. Corrie - Doing My Dance
06. Kenny Raw - Distorted Reality (Darren Roach Remix)
07. Pure Science - Don't Hold Back
08. Saytek - Two Words
09. Dachshund - Quiproquo
10. Just Be - My New Girlfriend
11. Lorenzo Blender - Subboom
12. Dub Taylor - Chasing Jean-Claude
13. DZNB - Adult Friend Finder
14. Todd Bodine - Symphony Of Truth Project
15. Bravofox - Bludine Paler
16. Berkson & What - Psychedelic Underground (RM Mix)
17. Asadinho feat. Effluence - Turn, Turn, Turn
18. Philipp Ort - Like That
19. Gideon Jackson & Daniel Poli - Ghost Dancing
20. Jay Tripwire & Joeski – Entranced