Montreal production veteran Tiga has made a career walking the very fine line between pop and club music, at times too precariously to stand comfortably in either. I'd honestly never rated the guy until I saw him blowing the roof off of Panorama Bar this fall with a set of house music as sugary as it was sophisticated and uncompromising. Non Stop, his first mix CD since 2005, is a distillation of the sound I heard that night, and it'll make you weep for all the confetti cartridges and subwoofer-driving kilowatt hours wasted these last few years trying to pitch dance music to the previously uninitiated. Sure, a tracklist including Aphex Twin, Auntie Flo and Minimal Wave obscurity Crash Course in Science doesn't necessarily scream "crossover appeal." But over the course of a stylistically ambiguous and commendably swift 70 minutes, Tiga draws the latent pop right out of his selections without dumbing underground dance music down in the slightest.
Non Stop is an exercise in communication, and Tiga proves exceptionally persuasive. Though he opens with Kindness' wistfully Balearic cover of the Replacements classic "Swingin' Party," he doesn't exactly start off easy. Almost immediately, we're galloping through nervy acid and melody-devoid techno, with little more than the abstract sleaze of Tiga & Matthew Dear's "Plus" offered as succor. But even at its most obtuse, Tiga's spaciously produced selections give us plenty to hold onto—a human voice, a nearly hummable hand-drum line, some delicious swing in an otherwise clunky rhythm section. He beefs up some of the trackier moments with careful mixing and deft layering, but he also pulls no punches.
Half an hour in, Tiga has us in the palm of his hand. It's at about that moment that he transitions from Auntie Flo's franticly tropical "Oh My Days" to the skittering uplift of Lula Circus' "Once Upon a Time," after which Non Stop goes bonkers. Rave-faced techno from Duke Dumont, Clouds and Blawan bumps up against Actress' hyper-contemplative remix of Panda Bear's "Surfers Hymn," which itself manages to segue into the clean lines of Jacques Greene. And then everything's messy again, with Legowelt (under his obscure Gladio guise), K-Alexi and Factory Floor leading the charge toward the mix's awesomely skuzzy conclusion—1990 hardcore classic "Total Confusion (Heavenly Mix)."
Music nerds live for this sort of dot-connecting, but the connections Tiga makes here feel intuitive and entirely musical, not intellectual. And that's precisely why this mix will strike nearly all comers. Perhaps Non Stop's uplift has got me feeling particularly utopian, but I wonder if this mix could teach EDM addicts and underground partisans a little about why one's music is lost on the other, and show curious onlookers what this whole dance floor thing is about in the first place.
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Tracklist: Tiga - Tiga Non Stop 01. Kindness - Swingin' Party
02. 4E - Temple Traxx
03. AFX - AFX Acid 04
04. MKRNI - Humedad (DJs Pareja Remix)
05. Tiga - Plush
06. Audion - Cloth (Just A Couch)
07. Duke Dumont - Street Walker
08. Adam Marshall - Bass Tracking
09. Marco Carola - 90's
10. Bok Bok & Tom Trago - Lil Ma Bonus Beat
11. Tiga - Track City Bitch
12. Terence Fixmer - Inner Playground
13. Romare - The Blues (It Began In Africa)
14. Auntie Flo - Oh My Days
15. Lula Circus - Once Upon A Time
16. Tiga - The Picture
17. Locked Groove - Keep Thorough
18. Duke Dumont Ã¢â‚¬â€œ The Giver
19. Clouds - Those Cracks In Your Face, Do They Hurt?
20. Blawan - 6 To 6 Lick
21. Panda Bear - Surfer's Hymn (Actress Primitive Pattern Mix)
22. Jacques Greene - Prism
23. Gladio - Calligula
24. K Alexi - Vertigo
25. Aubrey - Spank Spank 2008
26. Factory Floor - Two Different Ways
27. Crash Course In Science - Flying Turns
28. A Homeboy, A Hippie & A Funki Dredd - Total Confusion (Heavenly Mix)
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