A-Trak - Infinity +1 / FabricLive.45A-Trak, fresh off the Kanye Express, returns this month with two mixes at (basically) the same time: different labels, very different personnel in the track lists, different emphases, yet essentially the same feel, same splashiness, same shameless intent to entertain by any cost. And yet both mixes are distinct—doubly impressive for a pair of surefire party-starters, in intent and in execution, so close in shape and sound to one another.
Infinity +1 is the one getting the hard push, and it's easy to hear why: It's basically a skillful, savvy version of the type of late-night mix you might find at 2 AM Saturday night on a fairly adventurous "rhythmic" FM-radio station in the States. Despite A-Trak's 2007 mash-up disc, Dirty South Dance, and his Kanye connection, the hip-hop on Infinity +1 is less important than the clubby beats and propulsive movement of the whole. Rap really only comes into the mix after gleaming electro by John Dahlbäck, KIM and Laurent Wolf lead into Lifelike's remix of Farley "Jackmaster" Funk's defining early house anthem "Love Can't Turn Around." A-Trak's own remix of MSTRKRFT's "Bounce," just about defines the feel of the whole CD with its gleeful build-ups and breakdowns and noisy aspects—a bulbous 303 line here, as opposed to the fuzzed-up mid-range filtering of Boys Noize's take on Gonzales' "Working Together" or the grainy bass of Fake Blood's remix of Little Boots' "Stuck on Repeat." If you've heard too many of these songs already, I understand. But they work well in A-Trak's setting.
Not as well as the selections on FabricLive 45, however. This one is all house, all the time, and if anything it's even more populist. But where Infinity +1 surveys recent work, FabricLive 45 jumps across the past decade and a half, beginning with DJ Sneak's mid-'90s filter-disco jump-starter "You Can't Hide From Your Bud" before touching down on Daft Punk's remix of "Mothership Reconnection" and finishing off with DJ Zinc's defining 2-step garage anthem "138 Trek." It also makes room for blog favorites like Aeroplane's Friendly Fires refix and three cuts from the Fool's Gold label, as well as Detroit techno from the Martian and Skepta's "Sweet Mother," which retrofits a Nigerian highlife tune.
Yet for all this eclecticism, most of the Fabric mix feels very, well, jackin'—only A-Trak doesn't use any actual old Chicago jack tracks. Instead, he draws a lot of fairly obvious and very entertaining lines between all those elements, from '90s filter-disco to current nu-disco, with plenty in between, without a whiff of scholarly stuff-shirtedness. He's just throwing a party, as similar—and different—as the last one.
“No longer is it a crime to mash a hip-hop acapella into a techno track. In this arena, A-Trak, aka Alain Macklovitch, leads the pack. The 26 year-old Montreal native rides the line between hip-hop and electronic beats in a refreshing hybrid of everything ass-shaking.” (BPM Magazine, issue 86) View the full artist profile