- A woeful trend in drum ‘n bass recently has been attention-deficit, hyperactive DJing: ripping up tracks for their buildups, breakdowns and bridges and sewing them up into other tracks, never letting a single cut linger for longer than two minutes or so. This kind of “Frankenmixing” was championed on Hospital Records honcho London Elektricity’s ‘Hospital Mix 5’ in January, which burned through thirty of the label’s tracks in just over an hour. Fellow Hospital producer/DJ Jon Cyantific nabbed the BBC Xtra Bass award for Best Breakthrough DJ by doing basically the same thing.
Meanwhile, there are DJs like Marcus Intalex plugging away quietly off the radar, bucking the trends, Ibiza residency be damned. This sort of apathy, compounded by Hospital’s relentless self-promotion across various outlets on the intraweb, made it a sad fact that I had never even heard of the man prior to ‘FabricLive. 35’. But I think this mix is going to turn a lot of heads, dyed-in-the-wool dnb heads and non-fans alike.
Intalex says in the press release that he simply “knew how to mix” from his tender teenage years. Twenty years on, a fair case could be made that this man is the Mozart of drum ‘n bass DJing. If you compare his style to the ADHD crew, there’s no contest: Intalex’s hand is delicate, unhurried, and incredibly polished. His style is hugely varied, too. Early on, tracks as disparate as Calibre’s piano-led, soulful roller ‘All The Days’ and Lynx’s ‘Global Enemies’, with Kemo providing a thugged-out rap over a sleazy bassline, sit comfortably with each other for nearly three minutes. About halfway through, Intalex pulls out the disc’s best mixing moment, soaring through the hugely uplifting vocals on Theory’s remix of Deadly Habit’s ‘Synesthesia’ before plunging down into the low-frequency abyss of
Track by track, Intalex takes a consistently surprising path through different interpretations of drum ‘n bass, with a slower BPM and heavier bass being the motifs that bring them all together. Calibre, boasting no less than four of the mix’s nineteen tracks, takes a fairly stripped-down, laid-back approach, hitting a particularly nice groove on ‘Hustlin’’ featuring DRS. Tracks like the previously mentioned ‘Synesthesia’ and Mistical’s ‘Time to Fly’ are straight-out jungle tunes, while Jonny L’s ‘Come Here’ and Alix Perez & Lynx’s ‘Allegiance’ are heads-down, screw-face stormers. Intalex’s flow switches effortlessly between darker territory and more soulful stuff, giving every track ample time to breathe before respectfully surrendering ground to the next.
’FabricLive. 35’ finishes out with the gorgeous ‘Solitary Native’ by Alix Perez & Sabre, its well-placed strings and eerie vocals making it positively heartbreaking. It’s an all-too-appropriate end to what is the best dnb mix in the ‘FabricLive’ series, easily besting High Contrast’s ‘25’ despite that mix being stellar as well. Intalex’s hard work and patience have certainly paid off here: if ‘FabricLive. 35’ doesn’t open more doors for this man and his similar-minded label, Soul:r Recordings, then the future of dnb is bleak indeed.
01. Calibre ft. Lariman –Over Reaction - Signature
02. Calibre – All The Days - Signature
03. Lynx ft. Kemo – Global Enemies – Soul:r
04. Commix – Faceless (Marcus Intalex Remix) – Shogun
05 Jonny L – Come Here – Mr L Records
06. Amaning vs. Dubwise – Smash V.I.P. – Soul:r
07. Soulmatic – Self Belief – Good Looking
08. Calibre ft. DRS – Hustlin’ - Signature
09. Calibre – Mr Right On - Signature
10. Deadly Habit – Synesthesia (Theory Remix) - Tentative
11. Breakage – Clarendon – Digital Soundboy
12. Alix Perez and Lynx – Allegiance – Soul:r
13. Zero Tolerance ft. Steo – Refusal – Soul:r
14. Mistical – Time To Fly – Soul:r
15. Duo Infernale – Feeling Blue – Soul:r
16. Instra:mental – Pacific Heights - Darkestral
17. Bango Collective ft. Kemo and Dennis Jones – Apocalypse – Soul:r
18. Mistical – Groove Me – Soul:r
19. Alix Perez and Sabre – Solitary Native – SGN:LTD