The resurgence (or unkillability) of deep house and minimal techno in 2007 has been remarked upon at length: it seems like just as everyone feels the need to repudiate ‘minimal’ as a meaningful category, a lot of people appear to be searching and striving to get their minimalist fix, albeit through different tropes: 2007 may be all about the continuation of minimal by other means. A whole season in search of a suffix to bond with – one good enough to save it from the backlash.
Italo and electro (‘proper electro’ as my DJ friend Jan would be at pains to emphasise, partly because it’s the kind he plays) have ghosted the margins of a lot of compositions this year. Often the edges are knocked glide-smooth in tech-house disguise, or the tracks float in space in disco mode, but sometimes it’s real Italo/electro back with a vengeance (and updated sound design), such as on Smith N Hack’s wonderful ‘Falling Stars’, which is placed here as the centrepiece of this mix, both in terms of duration and intention. All three of these sneaky returns are present here, integrated within a masterplan that bears the Château’s royal seal. The first is on the duo’s own ‘Baltringue’, a track which is so ‘reminiscent’ that three different people I’ve played it to swear they’ve heard before. Then there’s Snuten’s ‘Wild’n’Free (Claws Against Knives)’, a track with a wild twirl and a neat girly weasel pop vocal that deserved more attention than it got when it was released in 2005.
The mix works really well right up until the last few tracks – then comes unlucky number thirteen, Château Flight’s own remix of Poni Hoax’ ‘Antibodies’. The track is left in the mix for seven minutes and somehow, despite the fact that (elementally at least) it’s a progression from what has come before, is too long, is a little dull, and has an annoying, Underworld-y vocal loop in it. Not only that, but it mixes into Henrik Schwarz’ ‘Jimis 2006’, which I for one am deadly sick of. Read the label, selectors – it’s 2006 – and take heed: no more ‘Jimis’, no more ‘The Sun Can’t Compare’, and please no more ‘Where We At’, just for a while… please?
Unfortunately, these ‘last few tracks’ take up 25% of the running time, which means the whole thing feels like it peaks too soon (just after Westbam’s ‘Monkey See, Monkey Do’), and spends the remainder of proceedings ‘coming down’, right when ‘more’ is needed – more house, more Italo, or just more of the ‘something’ from the earlier part of the mix. Why not just end with the twelfth track, Riz Ortolani’s wonderful ‘Il Corpodilinda’, or close with something fitting the mood (but this is deeply, deeply subjective) like a massive, triumphant mix into ‘I Feel Love’ or a big splashdown into, I dunno, Todd Terje’s ‘Eurodans’ or Maximilian Skiba’s ‘Goodbye C64’? Okay, so who am I to tell them what to play, but all the same, I feel like the mix reaches its natural conclusion after the forty-seventh minute, after which it overstays its welcome for no good reason. In order to resolve this issue and not drive myself away from what is otherwise an enjoyable mix, I did what anyone of the mp3-playing generation does… I deleted the last three tracks, added my own, and gave my edit four stars.