Paul Woolford // The Lab 04 [NRK Sound Division]
Paul Woolford has come a long way since his very first footsteps as part of the 20:20 Vision family. Initial recordings gathered critical pace and a defining dancefloor destruction moment, the “just kicks and delay” monster that was Erotic Discourse, meant that Paul had truly put himself on the map. Now, over a two CD masterclass, the man from Leeds shows his mastery of the art of mixing on NRK’s rather exclusive The Lab series.
Scanning over the tracklist is a “oh but of course!” moment in some places; prominent contemporary artists like Roman Fluegel, Untold, 2562, STL and Trevino punctuate both CDs. Don’t be under any preconceptions though, far from being a box ticking exercise, a truly breathtaking journey is carved out in what is possibly one of the mixes of the year.
Its the curveballs that do it, eschewing the familiar gradual shift through gears of a standard DJ mix, there are moments that you just don’t expect. Dipping in early on the first CD, for example, the complete drop away from funk laden House into the near watery ambience of Shed’s The Praetorian the precludes a passage of cosmic dreaminess. Just as you are starting to settle into a starship drift, authentic back in the day House skips through the door from Chez Damier, and as no sooner than the groove of Chicago is established, then Roman Fluegel drops all the kicks in clap happy breather The Improviser, paving the way for Untold’s aggressive bass buzzsaw Motion The Dance.
The second CD cuts a much more direct path, but similarly seems happy to lead you down one avenue before flitting off in an entirely new direction, all without ever sounding jarring or forced. One moment you are skipping down the fanciful path of Chateau Flight’s fairy disco Baltringue, and the very next you find yourself dancing off into an acidic warehouse drenched in sweaty bass and bleeps. The entire spectacle is closed off with a particularly well chosen lord in the form of Aphex Twin’s Xmd 5a, an intriguing mash of modern classical piano and flanging synth funk and an apt summary of a mix that laughs in the face of pigeonholing.
If you are going in to the lab, you must be prepared to experiment. Paul Woolford is firing Higgs Boson particles off all walls with this heavyweight mix and it is one that will endure the ravages of time.
01. Rafael Anton Irisarri – Blue Tomorrows
02. Detroit Urban Gardening Ensemble – Take Root (Ashley Beedle’s Dearborn Heights Rework)
03. Lazor Sword – Batman (Lando Kal remix)
04. Mr Beatnick – Synthetes
05. Shed – The Praetorian
06. Daniel Wang – Berlin Sunrise (die Dammerung)
07. Chez Damier – Untitled
08. Hunee – A Study In Wild
09. Roman Fluegel – The Improvisor
10. Untold – Motion The Dance
11. Zakes Bantwini – Wasting My Time (Dan Ghenacia Remix)
12. Skudge – Convolution (2562 Remix)
13. Urban Culture – Wonders Of Wishing (For You)
14. Rafael Anton Irisarri – Blue Tomorrows
01. Super Collider – Darn (Cold Way O’ Lovin’)
02. STL – High Again
03. Fabio Gianelli – Grenouille
04. Trevino – Fred
05. Yasua Sato – Mirage Of The Night Sky
06. Terrence Dixon – Return Of The Speaker People (Kausto’s Sudden Aphasia Mix)
07. Chateau Flight – Baltringue
08. Canyons – See Blind Through (DJ Harvey Mix)
09. Gemini – Movement
10. Billy Shane – Fach
11. NB Funky – Riddim Box
12. Trevino – Tweakonomics
13. Dan Curtin – Fly By Night
14. Achterbahn D’Amour – Trance Me Up (Skudge Mix)
15. Aphex Twin – XMD5a
Release Date: Out Now