Skream & Pete Tong - All Gone Miami 2013Let me guess: you didn't see this one coming. All things considered, it's a very clever marketing move. Pete Tong's annual Miami mix CD suddenly feels much more relevant, and former dubstep don Skream gains entry to one of the most established institutions in house music. Oliver Jones was among dubstep's most ruthless and aggressive artists. His taste in house and disco, meanwhile, leans on the flamboyant and the glittery. After a brusque Twitter announcement that he would only be playing house from now on, All Gone Miami 2013 is Skream's manifesto for his new four-to-the-floor career.
It's hard to imagine anything sounding more "Miami" in 2013 than Skream's selection of new-school UK house and Crosstown Rebels tracks. His mix sounds exactly how you'd expect it to, and it's chock full of exclusive tracks like his own "Dark Electronics" remix of Infinity Ink. The problem is that Skream hasn't developed a distinctive style for 4/4 yet, and it shows. Weaving between bubbling underground bangers like SOPHIE's "Nothing More To Say" and cheesy '90s house sounds, it's the kind of mix that'll have you alternately fist-pumping and cringing with each drop. More often than not it's pleasant, but there's little rhyme or reason to the sequencing. He strings it together together like a dubstep mix, focusing on smaller builds and climaxes rather than a longer arc.
Pete Tong's mix is the complete opposite. It takes its time, starting with understated vocal tracks like Maya Jane Coles' "Easier To Hide," before climaxing with full-on anthems. His knockout move manages to include both FCL's "It's You" and Pachanga Boys' epic sunset anthem "Time." Sticking mainly to poppy house, his selections are mixed more leisurely than Skream's, with the lovely melodies of Benoit & Sergio, or CLOSE's "Beam Me Up," instead of glowstick-ready rave-ups. Tong's mix is a fine run-down of the melodic side of big-room house. Skream, however, is still learning his craft, which makes this feel like a test run rather than the arrival he wants it to be.