Josh Wink - Sessions

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  • Philly legend Josh Wink, owner of Ovum Records, first set dancefloors alight with his Hi-NRG tracks in 1989. Wink has continually shapeshifted since, moving from acid to breakbeats to techno, to most recently minimal on his "Have to Get Back" outing on min2MAX [Minus]. Sessions is Wink's first mix in a long while, this time offering a double CD effort for UK club label Ministry of Sound. A glance at the tracklisting illustrates his Detroit, old-skool and nu-skool influences, and the mix is spiced with a couple of his own tracks with Mathew Jonson re-rubbing Wink's biggest anthem "H.S.O.C." It looks tantalizing on paper, but does it translate musically? The first CD lifts off with Run Stop Restore's deep, burrowing "Corporal." Wink chooses to let this one play out for an eternity, setting a tone that promises a journey into the electronic abyss. Tracks from Anja Schneider & Sebo K as well as Irish boy Donnacha Costello take us deeper still—this is Mr. Wink weaving his hypnotic groove. Wink definitely proves that he can link minimal to acid house, though he branches out from the nominal stuff into dreamy, seductive numbers midway through—if you closed your eyes, you'd forget where you were. This first CD is subtitled 'Subconscious' and I understand why: Steve Bug's 'Summer Nights', D5's 'Floatation Tank' and Los Hermanos' 'Lines of Nazca' are just breathtaking. By the time Wink's excellent remix of Radiohead's 'Everything in its Right Place' arrives, those hard-to-reach parts of the brain are being massaged, and the magnificent set programming is apparent. This is so deeeeeeeeeep! Nu-skool boy Mathew Jonson weighs in with two tracks at the finish, the first of which is his welcome update of Wink's overplayed 'H.S.O.C'. 'Love Letter to the Enemy' takes us back into the black mystic recesses, concluding a mix which surprised me at almost every turn. "Subconscious" proves Wink still has that magic, acid-tinged touch. CD2 "Conscious" starts with more of a kick, DJ Yellow and Loco Dice setting up a groove that shakes us from our slumber. John Tejada's 'Sucre' is a highlight of a set which never comes close to the melodic grandeur of CD1. Early on is signature Wink, too many acid tracks in an overdose of 303ness. Guido Schneider's 'As Dry as I Can' and The Orb provide minor calm before the storm as the mix turns into a techno affair firmly aimed at the feet. Mills and Hood influences abound as we near the finish, shimmering, tinkly numbers from Wink, Inkle and Mateo Murphy losing the listener in a sea of subdued percussives. The latter half is a smoother ride with Wink dropping in some Detroit, but it may be one with more appeal to the purists. A repackaging of the American release 'Profound Sounds Vol.3', Sessions is Wink's first stab at a double CD mix. The original title would have been apt for the CD1—it as one of the best I've heard in ages, the perfect soundtrack to dreamlike summer days by the beach. CD2 is definitely on a different tip, and although it didn't quite have the same impact on me, I like the energy in its second half. Josh Wink has been a shadowy figure in recent times, but Sessions illustrates that he can still cut it, showing the new boys a thing or two and proving that every Dinky Dog has its day.