- Hate it or love it, John Digweed and his Bedrock imprint still have major pulling power. Undoubtedly responsible for some of the past decade's most pivotal tracks, the eleventh installment of their mix CD series again sees the label owner take centre stage, mixing 2 CD's of predominantly unreleased Bedrock tracks. The package also comes with a third disc featuring some of the tracks featured in the two CD's in unmixed form.
CD 1, the more dance floor-orientated of the two, kicks off with Mutant Clan's "On and Amp," with trance-esque strings. It's followed up by Alex Dolby and Santos' "Babylon," a looping, tribal sounding tool not dissimilar to "Hold Home," and another intriguing release from a producer we'd long since forgotten about post-"Camels." Israeli producer Guy J's "Mikro" is given a fresh lick of paint via Digweed's production partner Nick Muir, with the acidic, grinding peak-time sound further yanking proceedings up another notch. The largely formulaic-sounding tech house sound continues until Anton Pieete's remix of Smith and Selway's "Mistral" injects some funk back in to the mix, complete with a rinsing sound not dissimilar to the one that a certain ex-Deep Dish member has made popular over the past few years.
The highlight of CD1 arrives courtesy of Belgian techno stalwart Marco Bailey's "Jungle Laps" which is a pure peak time fodder, complete with acid squelches and percussion galore. Pete Heller's "Sabotage" ups the ante even further. (Was I the only one to think this man disappeared after "Big Love"? Is there a career rejuvenation theme running through this mix?) Anyone who's witnessed a Digweed DJ set will testify to the fact that he's among the best at playing peak time tracks. Let's face it; John Digweed is not a DJ renowned for building massive sets. What Digweed has managed here, however, is a subtle crafting of a diverse set of tracks. It's just that some of these tracks are well....a bit boring. It's as though we've heard this all before.
CD2 kicks off in familiar fashion via the emotional stylings of Alan Fitzpatrick's "Reflections," which style-wise is quite similar to Mutant Clan's "On and Amp," which opened the first mix. (An attentive listener will be checking the tracklisting to ensure they haven't mistakenly popped in the first disc.) Digweed's penchant for progressive house hasn't been completely neglected, though: James Zabiela's "Tylium" is a decent track in a genre most of us had all but forgotten. Alex Dolby and Santos again deliver the goods here via "No Walls," a fierce techno workout cut from the same cloth as Alter Ego's "Why Not." It won't be to everyone's taste, but of all the tracks here, it's bound to have the longest shelf life outside of this mix.
By the time Reshuffle's mix of Guy Gerber's "Stoppage Time" comes around, the pendulum has swung towards a more techno-orientated sound, and it's all the better for it. Marc Marzenit's "Not Assigned" however, comes complete with a grating breakdown. While it will work on the floor, it's the kind of cheap tool we've all heard before. Digweed, it seems, is keen to champion Marzenit's sound, considering that of the final six tracks, his name crops up three times. His presence on the mix, though, is overall a positive one, with "Expiritualized" likely to crop up on DJ charts. The same can't be said of closing track "My Black Dog" by Suicide Sports Club. Crap name? Check. Crap vocal? Check. Unnecessary amounts of bass? Check. Generic sounding progressive/electro bassline? Check. It's an unfortunate ending to two hours of predominately enjoyable listening.
Overall, however, there's little to differentiate the two CD's. That's to be expected considering that all the tracks come from the same label, but a bit more attention to the familiar patterns that both mixes undertake—emotional beginning, intense middle, soothing end—could have yielded a better result. Between the two mixes, at least half of the tracks are filler: Digweed perhaps would have been wiser to simply include all the track highlights on one CD and releasing it as such.
A handful of the tracks do appear in unmixed form on CD3. But while Bailey's "Jungle Laps" gets the nod, it's disappointing to see that both Santos efforts, as well as Marnezit's "Expiritualized" have been omitted. And Erphun's "Termination Sequence" and Tijuana's "Groove Is in the Air" are impressive efforts which oddly don't appear on either mix.
The impulse to give life to all of the tracks on your label is understandable, but there are better mediums than a yearly summary to do so. Too many tracks here simply offer too little. There are some genuinely great moments in this package, and Digweed devotees will lap it up with fervent appreciation. From a critical viewpoint, however, Bedrock 11 is the type of release that brings an old dictum to mind: Less is more.
01. Mutant Clan - On And Amp
02. Dirty Mongrel – Cream
03. Alex Dolby + Santos – Babylon
04. John Digweed & Nick Muir - Aquatonic (Unreleased Dub)
05. Guy J - Mikro (Nick Muir Edit)
06. Moonface - Futiurized Fears (Guy J Remix)
07. Giorgos Gatzgristos - Binary Star System
08. Christian Smith & John Selway - Mistral (Anton Pieete Remix)
09. Marco Bailey - Jungle Laps
10. Pete Heller - Sabotage (Acid Dub)
11. Mutant Clan – Persuader
12. Christian Smith & John Selway – Daytona
13. Alan Fitzpatrick - Reflections (Petar Dundov Remix)
14. Guy J - Lamur (Henry Saiz Unreleased Remix)
01. Alan Fitzpatrick - Reflections
02. Giorgos Gatzgristos - Pencils For The Weak
03. James Zabiela - Tylium
04. Rowdent - Found It
05. Tonedepth - Rumblefish (Maherdaniel Remix)
06. Erphun - The Little Rascal
07. Alex Dolby + Santos - No Walls
08. Guy Gerber - Stoppage Time (Reshuffle Remix)
09. Marc Marzenit - Not Assigned
10. John Digweed & Nick Muir - Tangent
11. Marc Marzenit – Expiritualized
12. Marc Marzenit ft. Mastafaktor - Unexpiritualized
13. Bedrock - Emerald (Henry Saiz Remix)
14. Suicide Sports Club - My Black Dog (Gutterstylz Alternative Dub)
01. Alan Fitzpatrick - Reflections (Reprise)
02. Rowdent - Eat Your Heart Out
03. Christian Smith & John Selway - Daytona (John Digweed & Nick Muir Remix)
04. Tijuana - Groove Is In The Air (Tom Budden's Alive Remix)
05. Rowdent - Found It
06. Saints and Sinners - Pushin Too Hard (Guy J Remix)
07. James Zabiela - Tylium (Spooky Remix)
08. Guy J - Lamur (Henry Saiz Remix 2)
09. Tonedepth - Rumblefish (Maherdaniel Remix)
10. Marco Bailey - Jungle Laps
11. Erphun - Termination Sequence