As such, transcending genres and generations as freely as he does these days, expectations for his entry into The Lab series were high. Lest we forget, as well as being a searing studio hand, Woodford is no slouch in the DJ department, either: For years he was resident at Leeds' much mythologised Back to Basics and now, during the summer months, is one of Space's main residents out in Ibiza. And that experience prevails in both discs here: If his Platform mix for Renaissance was a grand and intricate statement, his Lab mix feels more like the sort intuitive set the man lays down each and every weekend.
The story told across the 29 tracks of both discs is a wholly contemporary one, but one that never plumps for an obvious or predictable draw. What's more, it sees Woolford digging through the ages to tell his tale without ever sounding forced. The first disc deals in a number of different moods and only really slips into a groove with the arrival of Chez Damier's still-fresh-at-18-years-old "Untitled." Before then, some cute mixing bleeds Mr Beatnick's emotive strings into Daniel Bell's disco bliss into Shed's stripped ambiance—a swirly and emotive start, to be sure—and after that point things peak and trough through euphoric house, tripped out tech and deadly dread from 2562.
The second disc is equally non-linear. It gets to business quicker than the first, but contains just as many standouts (see STL's raw depravity, Trevino's devastating bass and DJ Harvey's shape-shifting house). When things feel like they're building to an all too intense climax, though, they get pulled back, reset, and head off down a slightly different yet somehow continuous path. The Lab 04 is as predictably unpredictable as you should now expect from one of electronic music's most restless souls.