- If Detroit's Stacey Pullen seems an odd choice to have mixed this 2020Vision, you obviously didn't hear the one about him being one of the first DJs to support the label via fax (text, on paper, down a phone line, apparently) 15 years ago, back when it still wore nappies. The fact that Pullen is low-key, though, nicely complements the ethos of 2020 and its boss, Ralph Lawson—a man so uninterested in leaving the comfort of his Back to Basics residency until fairly recently that Bill Brewster dubbed him "Britain's best kept secret." Not bad for someone who runs one of the UK's foremost house labels and holds a residency at one of the country's longest running club nights.
It's worth mentioning that there are very few imprints whose artists and releases traverse as many niches as 2020. What other labels could boast the unadulterated Manheim sound of Johnny D, the housey disco of Crazy P, the deep and sensuous 4/4 of Ekkohaus and the old school stylings of Greg Wilson? Most would have a splintered into a network of sub/sister labels to do so but Lawson trusts his judgement and isn't afraid of simply putting out good music, rather than honing any sort of image for his label, or pushing any one sound—a brave choice in a world so concerned with branding and lifestyle choices.
Bearing that diversity in mind, it seems even more apt that Pullen was selected to mix this one, then. Being informed rather than formed by his Detroit schooling alongside the first wave pioneers is what makes him flexible, and suitable for the mix. He is someone who claims never to plan a set, never to know where he's going, and instead "play(ing) from the heart," be it with house, techno, soul or whatever.
Pullen takes in everything here, starting with the early percolating house of Lawson's Wolf-n-Bear alias (a project he undertook with former fellow B2B resident Huggy and Carl Finlow) and moving into the genuine, early house party vibes of Inland Knights' "After Me." The tech gradually edges in with the upright shuffle and glide of Julien Chaptal's take on Simon Baker's "Way Out of My Head," before peaking with the bouncing Mannheim cycles of Johnny D's ubiquitous remix of 2020Soundsystem's "Sliding Away." From there, the journey through the back catalogue is less smooth (Roberto Rodriguez's forced Crazy P remix a considerable sticking point) than was the imprint's rise to prominence, but as a showcase, it documents an accomplished label in 2020, a man with many strings to his bow in Lawson and a DJ it would be nice to hear more from in Pullen.
01. Wulf & Bear - Needsy's Run
02. Inland Knights - After Me
03. Wulf n Bear - Body Music
04. Simon Baker - Out Of My Head (Julien Chaptal Remix)
05. 2020Soundsystem - Sliding Away (Johnny D Remix)
06. Mark Broom - Take Me Home (Mihalis Safras Remix)
07. Art Of Tones - Terres Conquises
08. Random Factor - Outlaw (John Tejada Remix)
09. Random Factor - Beaten (Art Of Tones Remix)
10. Crazy P - Stop, Space, Return (Roberto Rodriguez Remix)
11. Moodymanc - V8
12. 2020Soundsystem - Psycho
13. Mark Broom - Riddim
14. Volga Select - Les Annees Des Plomb (Joshua Mix)