M.A.N.D.Y - At the Controls

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  • Get Physical supremos M.A.N.D.Y were never going to play it straight for their At The Controls contribution. Even so, opening CD2 with a double easy listening whammy of Marden Hill’s ‘Bardot’ and Cat Stevens’ ‘Was A Dog A Doughnut’ is perhaps slightly more outré than many would have expected. Outré, but also oddly fitting: this mix is a cocktail-smooth leisure accessory which would be at home on coffee tables, in car adverts, played by decadent sophisticates in JG Ballard novels. This isn’t a criticism: M.A.N.D.Y’s approach to the concept of the lifestyle mix is to toy with it, to recast the dark minimalism of Ricardo Villalobos’s ‘Ichso’ and SCSI-9’s ‘Señorita Tristeza’ as polished, suave loungecore, to have fun with acres of piano-dappled, cheesy-listening basslines and witty segues. Cheesy listening maybe, but we’re in mature dolcelatte territory: though the touch is candyfloss-light, the track selection is unimpeachably heavyweight. Jona’s ‘Smart Cats vs Dumb Dogs’, Dinky’s ‘Michelle’, their own remix of Rockers Hi Fi’s ‘Push Push’ and My My’s ‘Clean Break’ are highlights, all skimmed over in a way which extracts the maximum thrill without laying it on too thick. The emotional climax of the mix sneaks up on you: Trentemøller’s remix of Djuma Soundsystem’s ‘Les Djinns’ is astonishing, texturally and melodically sumptuous and utterly all-encompassing. And then a pause, and a hidden track, and a neat shot of soul in Henrik Schwarz’s take on Coldcut’s ‘Walk A Mile In My Shoes’, and it’s all clear: M.A.N.D.Y’s mastery is in locating the beating heart within the superficially gorgeous sheen of lifestyle gloss.