Fergie’s contribution to the resurrected Mixmag Live series begins with the rolling beats of Roelz’s ‘Deep Forest’ which sets an almost subdued rhythm to the overall feel of this mix. The pace is gradually increased with Polyvinyl’s ‘Stereophase’ and then it’s onto high hat heaven with ‘Cha Rumba’ from Felipe & Nicholas Bacher. We’re now graduating to a more typical techno feel with this track’s urgent beats. One of my favourite techno producers is up next as we begin to feel the prominent beat heavy rhythms of Valentino Kanzyani’s ‘La Sala Loca’. There’s a relentless beauty to this track that just draws me in completely.
The urgency in the beats is continued with Misjah’s ‘Arabian Nights’. But make no mistake. While the beats are banging, it doesn’t induce a headache. These are my kind of hard beats because they don’t batter your ears to the point where they bleed. The track’s subtly enhanced by the underlying melody and complimented by a beat that’s actually intelligent in sound. This vibe is further continued with ‘Sea Side’ which is another track from Misjah. The simple breakdown within this number adds intensity to the overall feel of this mix. So far, I love this!
An austere quality is introduced with Holgi Star’s ‘Puerto Rico’ but it quickly changes into a sound that reminds me of Fergie’s late mentor, Tony de Vit. In my eyes, he still is the true example of what hard house should have always been about and this track is a latent reminder of why I loved his Global Underground mixes. Up next is a track that truly took me by surprise and that’s Fergie’s own production, ‘Spin Energy’. And energetic it is, at the very least. This, to me, is a successful fusion of all the best elements of hard house and the simpler qualities of techno. My hat goes of to the Irishman because the melody and bassline just works for me.
The mix is taken back to a more typical techno sound with Jel Ford and Oscar Charlie’s ‘Spike’. With this track the chords are taken down a notch and into a darker realm. It’s almost devious in sound and I can imagine hearing this track in a small, dark club. With ‘Last Rites’ from Generation Gap, that ominous feel is continued and intensified with the Samuel L Jackson sample from ‘Pulp Fiction’. Vengeance with strike down on those that don’t understand! A more melodic but still relentless beat is continued with ‘Hardcore Mother F##ker’ from Gleave & Johnston. At this stage of the mix, I truly found myself dancing around my apartment and completely embracing what I was hearing.
A fuller, satisfying sound is introduced with Generation Gap’s ‘Funk Patrol’. For me, this has a slightly more hard trance feel but still keeping the overall techno feel to the sound as well as keeping the ‘Pulp Fiction’ feel in tune. This is followed on with a Mauro Picotto style of techno as we start to hear Cirez D’s ‘Control Freak’. Furious in its beats as it takes no prisoners! The tune that closes the mix is ‘Ablaze’ which is another track from Jel Ford and Oscar Charlie. A truly unmerciful way to end a mix that I found surprising from start to finish but more than anything completely enjoyable!
It’s always a good sign when a DJ has the ability to not only mature as an individual but to change his tastes in music to coincide with this growth. And that’s exactly what Fergie has done, if this mix is anything to go by. This isn’t about him jumping on a bandwagon of a popular sound. If anything, techno is the hardest thing any DJ, established or otherwise, could ever deviate to especially when you’re known worldwide as a hard house representative. But you know what? Who bloody cares! This is a really good mix and one that puts a smile on my face. While the mixing is simple, it’s still spot on. I’m not going to kid you by saying this is the best thing I’ve ever heard. It’s not! Where techno is concerned, I’ve heard better mixes, which have been more creative. If anything, the ‘Pulp Fiction’ samples were somewhat cheesy but I can overlook that because this is worth a listen.
More than anything, what I respect, what I do appreciate and ultimately admire, is that Fergie is taking chances and exploring sounds that wouldn’t commonly be associated with him. It’s well established that he’s regarded as a major force on the hard house scene. While he may have been moving away from that sound over the last few years, there’s no denying that he’s still a symbol of it. As such, I’m not sure how his diehard fans will take this mix because it could very well be regarded as tame where the BPMs are concerned. It’s almost unfortunate to say but realistically speaking, the techno purists will scoff at the very idea of Fergie mixing a techno compilation. I know I almost did even though I don’t consider myself a purist of the genre. But having said all that, all I ask is that if you’re a person that’s open minded, give this a listen. Judge it by the music and the heartfelt effort, not solely on what or who you think the DJ in question represents.
There was a reason why Tony de Vit became Fergie’s mentor. Hearing this mix for Mixmag Live, I can finally understand why. Maybe, just maybe, the deceased DJ and producer saw something in the cheeky Irishman that we’re only now beginning to see.
And by the way, yes, I eventually got home…
1. Deep Forest – Roelz
2. Stereophase – Polyvinyl
3. Cha Rumba – Felipe & Nicholas Bacher
4. La Sala Loca – Valentino Kanzyani
5. Arabian Nights – Misjah
6. Sea Side – Misjah
7. Puerto Rico – Holgi Star
8. Spin Energy – Fergie
9. Spike – Jel Ford and Oscar Charlie
10. Last Rites – Generation Gap
11. Hardcore Mother F##ker – Gleave & Johnston
12. Funk Patrol – Generation Gap
13. Control Freak – Cirez D
14. Ablaze – Jel Ford and Oscar Charlie