With Ben UFO, it's all a matter of degrees. If 67 has a more coherent thrust than some of his other mixes, it still goes to places that most DJs would never think of, much less navigate so successfully. Thomson is authoritative, and very intimate with his source material. He understands it. Early on, we move, if not seamlessly then deftly from a typically distorted barrage on L.I.E.S to the bongos 'n' bleeps of Tim "Love" Lee's "The Tortoise." Later, in a passage where time seems to stop for a moment of reverie, "Mukuba Special," Shackleton's African hi-life throwdown with the Kasai Allstars, laps back and forth like water into Mr Finger's "I'm Strong" and then into the acidic grooves of the meditative "Zug Island."
Elsewhere, though, Thomson goes hard. There was a lot of talk last year about how the leading lights of bass music were "going techno." But Ben UFO is doing much more than that. He is forging an essentially UK hybrid which, even at its most steely, is not techno in the sense of steady forward momentum and patient evolution. The UFO sound is far more Brixton than Berghain, with a non-stop sensory assault of subby, slithering garage basslines, snatched R&B vocals, grimy electronics, juddering rave-continuum riffs, and beats that are forever busting with fresh counterpoints and bumpy fills. Rhythmically, Ben UFO is giddy, ebullient even. Which is why, even at his most corrosive, he is not just a very smart "crate-digger," but also a phenomenal party starter.