The follow-up to RA's favourite mix from 2019 lands you straight in a midsummer garage rave.
It takes some guts to open a new mixtape with a tune that was so huge in the UK a few months ago that it's opening bars became a meme—even if you did produce it. But AJ Tracey's "Ladbroke Grove" perfectly exemplifies the mission statement of The Kiwi Sound. At once revivalist and modern, it's an up-to-date version of the garage anthems that once dominated the UK airwaves, the current garage sound that Conducta champions. Perhaps that's why an alternate mix of the song also kicked off Kiwi Krush, RA's favourite mix of 2019.
For the most part, The Kiwi Sound sticks to the more traditional garage template, with bright organs, swung percussion and plenty of vocals. Garage DJs are often not afraid of deploying a well-timed hit, and that's true here. Along with "Ladbroke Grove," there are Conducta remixes of chart hits like "Boasty," by Wiley, Idris Elba, Stefflon Don and Sean Paul, and Jorja Smith and Preditah's "On My Mind." There are also more underground anthems to get behind. The heartwarming melodies of Y U QT's "U BELONG 2 ME" burst through particularly well, providing an early highlight.
If you're looking for rarer tracks, you're still covered. A huge portion of the mix is dedicated to unreleased numbers from the wider Kiwi Rekords family, as well as a few deeper cuts from the world of modern garage. There's also a healthy dash of darker garage and bassline. Tracks like Mind Of A Dragons' "Wheel Up (VIP Mix)," Skelecta's "Power" and Sharda's "Peace & Love" add some vital screwface energy without ever disrupting the surrounding vibe.
This is partly down to Conducta's mixing style. His blends are fast and precise, normally just a few bars long. The Kiwi Sound is well-structured and well-paced, but the energy levels remain high throughout. It's a mix less concerned with crafting a narrative than it is with painting a picture of a garage rave at its peak, spin-backs, gun fingers and all.
Talk of a garage revival, spearheaded by Conducta and others, can feel a little odd at times, especially for those of us in the UK. Ever since the genre first appeared decades ago, it's been the de facto sound of the summer, blaring out of car windows and from personal speakers in parks. It might have fallen out of fashion for producers until recently, but its classic tunes always remained a key part of our national consciousness. Over the years, garage twisted itself into some of the most vital movements in the country’s recent musical heritage—sounds like dubstep, grime and bassline. I expect to hear The Kiwi Sound, as well Conducta's other mixtapes, played a lot over the summer, and for many summers to come.
Sat / 28 Mar 2020
01. AJ Tracey - Ladbroke Grove
02. Sammy Virji - Find My Way Home
03. Conducta - Steezing feat. Coco & J'Danna
04. Yemi - Back To You
05. Sammy Virji - Oh Will
06. Mind Of A Dragon - Wheel Up (VIP)
07. Y U QT - U BELONG 2 ME
08. Prescribe Da Vibe - Cool Today
09. Wiley, Sean Paul, Stefflon Don - Boasty feat. Idris Elba (Conducta Remix)
10. TC4 - Caracas (Mixed)
11. Kamakaze x Massappeals - Last Night feat. Morgan Munroe
12. Bushbaby - Woman's Touch
13. Conducta & Sammy Virji - Alone
14. Sharda - Peace & Love
15. Conducta & Jarreau Vandal - I Like It
16. Movement & Reece West - More Than A Lot
17. Kobe JT - Somewhere Underground
18. Conducta & Sammy Virji - Whippet (Sweetie Irie Dub)
19. Higgo - Chillin
20. MPH & Hans Glader - The Birds
21. Prescribe Da Vibe - Clearer Now
22. Smasher - Rolling
23. Kitson - Kitchen Riddim
24. Jaykae - Chat feat. Local
25. Sammy Virji & Yemi - Somebody Else
26. Hamdi - Trumpet
27. Mind Of A Dragon - Caught Up
28. MPH & Harry Tremlett - Wompa
29. Salute - Feel The Same
30. Sharda - Exhaust
31. Tuff Culture - Fancy Car
32. Skelecta - When You
33. Morenight - TT
34. Y U QT - I Feel It
35. SMOAD - Beggin Me
36. Kara Marni x Champion - All Night, Pt. 1
37. The Phat Controlla - Bubblegumbud
38. Jorja Smith x Preditah - On My Mind (Conducta Remix)