So Sasher, sorry Sasha, is back.
Global Underground and BMG, not to mention the fans, have been on his back, keen for a new slice of musical pie since his previous solo compilation in 1999 - GU013 Ibiza (touted as one of the greatest mix CDs of its time). One can only imagine the immense pressure he would have been under in creating Involver - an album set to be one of the most revered, compared and reviewed albums of 2004.
The first two introductory tracks feature immaculate vocals. They play the vital part of setting a strongly produced slate for Sasha to present the rest of the mix with a perfect lead in.
The beautiful and highly regarded 'These Days' by Stockholm born newcomer, Petter, receives a brief touch of Sasha’s recreation. It does work very well and is surprisingly the only track on the CD without some form of vocal. It leads and continues nicely into the warming Unkle ‘What are you to me?’ mix that follows.
It is the two remakes of tracks originally released in 2002 where Sasha really starts to get down the business end of things with Involver. Firstly The Youngsters with their 'Smile' featuring a strong bassline and the raw electro sounds that have made the French artists so successful.
Charlie May & Duncan Forbes, well known for their previous progressive productions under their Spooky moniker, continue the mix with 'Belong' - and Sasha's new edit. The original mix, prior to Sasha's touch, is undoubtedly one of the finest ambient progressive releases of its kind, so it is no surprise that this update is nothing short of exceptional. It's brought in ever so simply, with Julie Daske's beautiful female vocals, that work their way into your head and you will become addicted. And then, the simple and understated bassline drops in followed by the thick and amazingly formed chords roll through the track that together with the vocals cement it as extraordinary.
Slotting in seamlessly is his new remix of Unkle’s 'In A State'. This mix proves the point of the excessive time Sasha has put into Involver, being (as many of you would know) his second take on the track (the first featuring on James Lavelle's Barcelona GU026 comp), and I must add, his most impressive... by far... making both his previous and the original look average at best. Simple, energetic, uplifting and vibrant.
Following on is his rework of 'Burma', the latest track from Melbourne based production duo Lostep, Phil K (one of Australia’s finest DJs) and Luke Chable (one of Australia's finest producers). To be honest it isn’t their best work and the original left a fair bit to be desired, but Sasha has filled the void, really taking it to the next level it needed with this twelve minute version.
It is at this moment, 60 odd minutes in, where I need to stop and make the point that you can not fault Sasha with much on the music he has presented. You would be hard pressed to find a mix out in the current period that comes close to this sequence of music. This being said, the faultless ride appears to slide to an abrupt halt with the next track...
The beginning of the end of this amazing climb through music is his tweak of Felix Da Housecat's 'Watching Cars Go By'. It is definitely the weakest link in this compilation. Sure it's electro and that may be a cool thing at the moment, it could widen the appeal and maybe sell a few extra copies, and on it's own it is some nice production - but it doesn’t suit the compilation as a whole. There are just 2 pieces that remain to be slotted in this 10 piece puzzle and this isn't one that fits. Worst of all it leaves the final track somewhat stranded. It is only when it mixes away to the electro vocal of ‘I am no cyber whore’ that things get back on track.
The driving bassline of Sasha's stunning remix of Ulrich Schnauss' 'On My Own', is the homerun that knocks Involver into the stratosphere of legendary music. He turns Ulrich's previously ambient sounds into a peak time dance floor filler and you will be hearing this tune right throughout summer.
Overall, Involver is Sasha at the top of his game. A mix that's compiled, edited, remixed, mastered, and produced to near perfection.
Fri / 28 May 2004
01. Grand National - Talk Amongst Yourselves. 10:22
02. Shpongle - Dorset Perception. 9:31
03. Petter - These Days. 2:54
04. Unkle - What Are You To Me? 4:07
05. The Youngsters - Smile. 9:33
06. Spooky - Belong. 7:38
07. Unkle - In A State. 5:39
08. Lostep – Burma. 12:02
09. Felix Da Housecat - Watching Cars Go By. 8:11
10. Ulrich Schnauss - On My Own. 7:42