- Although Temporary Secretary is the official follow-up to Dixon's defining 2007 Body Language mix, it quickly becomes apparent that the recent Innervisions-via-BBE project, Grandfather Paradox, may have left more than a little residue with the Innervisions head, musically and conceptually. Once again, Dixon has an overriding theme to the mix. This time it's a reaction to the disposability of the mix CD, the modest aim being a reclamation of the value that the legal and official DJ mix once had before blog freebies, throwaway digital bundle bonuses and anonymous YouSendIt files.
Such a lofty concept can't help but cast a serious pall of joylessness over the proceedings, and that's precisely what it does here. Grandfather Paradox was equally as high-brow, but it stitched together minimal music's greatest hits into a greater whole. Here, Dixon stumbles on two accounts: Most trainspotters won't immediately appreciate the meticulous splicing that has gone on, and in focusing so heavily on the nuts and bolts, Dixon sometimes loses the big picture.
The mixes between individual tracks are often stunning, however. Fever Ray's dirge-like "If I Had a Heart" is pitched up but no less menacing, setting a brittle and mechanical tone that permeates the rest of the compilation, and is followed by the haunting combination of Roland Bocquet's percussive space oddity "Exotique," with Ame's "Tube Beat." In Dixon's hands, the soul-drenched vocals and strings-a-plenty groove of Henrik Schwarz remix of Jazzanova's "Let Me Show Ya" is fused with the juddering synths of Daniel Paul's "Something About You," for a bit of mechanical soul. Similarly, the harmoniously nightmarish union of the underwater synths and tech-funk of Ben Klock's "In a While" with Precious System's "Voice from Planet Love," far exceeds both original versions.
Elsewhere Dixon balances out the mix with a selection that maintains a delicate balance of warm beats and chilly synthetic melodies: The Fuse's melodramatic "The Machine" recalls Gregorian Chant infomercials, tracks like Kalabrese's micro-house remix of "Inferno Jack" and Ewan Pearson's remix of Junior Boys' "Hazel," keep things beguiling, but at arm's length.
Temporary Secretary isn't a bad mix. But you can't help but miss the playful melodies and unpretentious appreciation of house music that Dixon is known for. Any fans of his earlier mixes—or those who have witnessed what the man is capable of in a club—would agree that he's at his best when he has the freedom to do what he wants. He makes things look easy. More often than not, Temporary Secretary sounds like hard work.
01. Icasol - Ongou
02. Fever Ray - If I Had a Heart
03. Roland Bocquet - Exotique / Ame - Tube Beat
04. Jazzanova - Let Me Show Ya (Henrik Schwarz Remix) / Daniel Paul - Something About You (Instrumental)
05. Precious System - The Voice From Planet Love / Ben Klock - In a While
06. Junior Boys - Hazel (Ewan Pearson's House Mix)
07. Butane - Inferno Jack (Kalabrese Remix)
08. Peter Kruder - Law Of Return
09. Kiki - Good Voodoo (Visionquest Remix)
10. Code 718 - Equinox (Henrik Schwarz Mix)
11. The Machine - Fuse
12. Cortney Tidwell - Watusii (Daphni remix)
13. Ame - Setsa
14. Tokyo Black Star - Sepiaphone