James Zabiela & Nic Fanciulli - One + One

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  • Are James Zabiela fans Nic Fanciulli fans, and vice versa? On their own, these two operate at opposite ends of the house music spectrum, with Zabiela pushing it to its techiest limits and Fanciulli opting for a more straight-ahead, soulful sound. The idea of a collaborative comp is a bit of a head-scratcher: sure, they have youth and good looks in common, but can the two find a balance between their vastly different approaches? ‘One + One’ sees Zabiela and Fanciulli meeting halfway on two discs that are largely dominated by their mutual loves: progressive house and electro. The duo’s debut production, ‘Rover’ (produced in a Range Rover!) starts disc one. Despite all the filtered chatter from someone distractedly talking about the collaborative process, there’s very little of Fanciulii’s influence here, which is a shame considering the myriad of top-shelf productions and remixes he’s released under both his own name and his Buick Project alias. The track feels all Zabiela – bleeps, bloops and robo-vox, albeit tempered by a moody bassline. The decision to throw in Deep Dish’s ‘Stay Gold’, originally a remix of Everything But The Girl’s ‘Future of the Future’, is inspired. With minimal tweaking, Z&F have dusted off a decade-old track and made it feel new again. The same can’t be said for the M.A.N.D.Y. remix of ‘Push Push’ by Rockers’ Hi-Fi. The 1995 original is a classic of dubwise house, which M.A.N.D.Y. soil by taking a Eurotrashy, guitar-powered poop on. After getting that out of their system, Z&F detour into electro for a few tracks, starting with Di Indicator’s heavy ‘Nothing Like You’. Simon Baker’s ‘Plastik’ blurs the line between acid house and techno, building up to the progressive/techno smasher ‘Love It’ by Jurgens. Zabiela’s ‘Human (One+One Version)’ is little more than a beefed-up extension of ‘Rover’, but leads nicely into his edit of Furry Phreaks & Terra Deva’s ‘Soothe (Cyanide Ride)’. This track is fairly ancient, having appeared on Sasha & Digweed’s ‘Northern Exposure 2: Eastcoast Edition’ way back in 1998. It’s not quite a king’s return like Deep Dish’s ‘Stay Gold’, but a welcome flashback nonetheless. Disc two starts with Shane Berry’s ‘SimonSis1’, an ultra-nerdy videogame-y bass test that solidifies Zabiela as the upper hand of the two when it comes to track selection. It’s like something from a ‘One + One’ sitcom: hilarity and hijinks ensue when two young, sexy DJs share a flat to make music together… James: Let's use 'SimonSis1'. Nic: But...but...what about my remix of Francois Dubois' 'I Try'? James: Watchoo talkin' 'bout, Nicholas? [Cue laugh track] Zabiela’s mash-up of Alcatraz’s 1996 house track ‘Give Me Luv’ with Paul Woolford’s ‘Erotic Discourse’ lends new freshness to one of the biggest tracks of last year. But next to Fanciulli’s ‘Cat Out of the Bag (Jim Rivers Cat Nap Mix)’, it makes the latter sound dull and obligatory. Workidz’s ‘Work It’ brings the energy back up, a truly suspenseful track what with all the furious clapping. Hi-Fi Bugs’ ‘Don’t Die, Don’t Kill Anyone’ is an excellent jump-off for another round of electro, this time on a darker, more old-school acid tip with Electroliners’ ‘Ghetto Train’ and ‘Netsplit’ by R3volve. Z&F really drop the ball on the last few tracks, though, with another DOA Fanciulli slog (‘Scratch N Sniff’) and Mayday’s ‘Wiggin’, for which the Nick DK edit does little to make it sound any younger or better than its 1988 birthday. Album closer ‘No Pressure’, the second One+One production, is a huge step up from ‘Rover’ – unpredictable, expertly layered and, even at nine minutes, never dull. Zabiela fans who pick up ‘One + One’ may be disappointed at the lack of his complicated (and carefully noted) mixing style. Transitions between tracks are serviceable but, by JZ standards, criminally simple. Likewise, Fanciulli fans might be put off at the lack of the warmth his previous mix CDs have exuded; he and Zabiela find each other amidst the cold, driving beats of electro and assume their fans will want to meet them there, too. It’s a risky bet. The electro’s okay, but it’s the chin stroking and ass-shaking these guys have a harder time agreeing on. Zabiela and Fanciulli are both young and good-looking, yes, but ‘One + One’ proves they just don’t make the best couple.
  • Tracklist
      CD1 01. One+One - Rover 02. Deep Dish - Stay Gold 03. Funk D’Void - To Ya Waistline 04. Crazy Penis - The Way We Swing (JZ Edit) 05. Rockers Hi-Fi - Push Push (M.A.N.D.Y.’s Pusher Remix) 06. Compuphonic - Analog Sparkles 07. Di_Indicator - Nothing Like You 08. Carl Finlow - Floating Point 09. Cobblestone Jazz - Dump Truck 10. Simon Baker - Plastik 11. Juergens - Love It 12. James Zabiela - Human (One+One Version) 13. Furry Phreaks Feat. Terra Deva - Soothe (Cyanide Ride - JZ Northern Nod Edit) 14. Fragmenté - Think Of Love CD2 01. Shane Berry - SimonSis1 02. The Fix - Being Stoopid 03. Alcatraz - Giv Me Luv Paul Woolford Presents Bobby Peru - Erotic Discourse (JZ Erotic Luv Mash Up - Vocal Version) 04. Nic Fanciulli - Cat Out Of The Bag (Jim Rivers Cat Nap Mix) 05. Phil Kieran - Pinhole of Light 06. Workidz - Work It 07. Hi-Fi Bugs - Don’t Die, Don’t Kill Anyone 08. Electroliners - Ghetto Train (Original Mix) 09. R3volve - Netsplit 10. Deadmau5 - Faxing Berlin 11. Nic Fanciulli - Scratch n Sniff (One+One Version) 12. ReShuffle - Internal Affairs 13. Mayday - Wiggin (Nick DK Edit) 14. One+One - No Pressure