John Digweed is a man of so few words, yet so much emotion. His career mirrors that of Michael Shumacher. He is as the pinnacle of his profession and just when you think he can do no more, he raises the bar just a little bit higher. MMII (2002 in roman numerals) is his latest offering. In a period where the number of progressive releases seems endless, there often comes along one mix that blows every other out of the water, MMII is one of them. The first thing that will strike you is the fact that this is only a one cd release, compared to the standard 2 cd release that we have come to expect, and means that Digweed has 70 odd minutes to portray his message. Does he achieve his goal – let’s indulge.
Pollen’s “Lonely Planet” is the all important opening delight. Hypnotic progressive at it’s best with subtle yet a beautiful piano line. Pole Folder and CP’s “Dust” follows with yet another masterpiece from the Belgian duo. A soothing aura with mesmerising vocals, and when 5 minutes and 50 seconds pass you will know this is a classic when the most blissful of strings take the mix to another level. “Mooger Fooger” by Bermuda Triangle is next with clattering drums meeting an outer space melody, with delicate computerized vocal samples in the backdrop. The mix still, of which the pace is at an easygoing level, is still in first gear.
We, however, are stepped up a gear with Sean Q6 “Thing”. Rattling drums and funky baseline unite, this is trademark Digweed right here ladies and gentlemen. The ever-impressive Flash Brothers make their mark with “Protect the Senses”, another fantastic production from the boys from Israel who have made their name known through melodic and spiritual house music over the last year or so. A familiar name in Darren Emerson follows with his remix of Te Quiero’s “108 Grand”- rolling baseline with building melodies exploding into a breakbeat climax. The Dub Extravaganza of Shakespeare’s Sister’s “Black Sky” continues where 108 Grand left off, into a flurry of beats and sweeping strings – Digweed’s stepped up yet another gear.
A familiar name in James Holden treats us with one of his finest moments in the production studio – “I Have Put Out The Light”, with Holden’s distinct melodious riffs. The pace gathers with the dub club mix of “Belong” by old timers Spooky and then Charlie May supplies the grand finale with his remix of Mandalay’s “Deep Love”, ending the mix with a peak time delight full of subtle uplifting vocals and killer synths. The cd is fantastically mixed, with twists and turns and an unrivalled flow. It’s a return to the happier side of progressive, a return to the state this genre was a few years back, healthy, vibrant and joyous.
This mix is going to receive comparisons with the classic “Northern Exposure” series. But you cannot deny that music has changed since the mid to late 90’s, and as such it is quite difficult to make a comparison. One thing is still the same though, and that is there is some fantastic music being made, this mix a proof of this. Producers like Pole Folder & CP, Flash and Charlie May, who represent each corner of the earth, are definite proof to this. MMII is without doubt the best mixed release in the last year or two, Digweed has yet again proven no other DJ comes close to showing what progressive house truly means.
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