As a result, Rinse 23 doesn't really feel like a Rinse CD. The series has taken in grime, dubstep, funky, garage and everything in between through the years, but flirtations with house have always been taken hand-in-hand with UK-centric music (Ben UFO, Kode9), or simply packed with good old London bassweight (Radford). Not so here. Ahmed's mix is closely aligned with the Hot Creations empire, making few deviations from that label's template for passably catchy house. Ahmed has fine taste in poppier fare, from Outboxx's "Sunshine Mills" to the Michael Jackson samples of Jey Kurnis' "Francis," but his set rolls along with little pizzazz to perk up your ears.
Coming from a different background, Ahmed's smooth and seamless mixing style also feels incongruous for the series. It might suit his record collection, but Rinse 23 carries the nagging feeling that this is the kind of session you could get anywhere, completely removed from the label's scene-defining pedigree. A capable DJ by anyone's measure, Ahmed's venture into the Rinse world is certainly competent. But it isn't much more.