The compilation's three discs allow Satoshi Tomiie to show us what he's into right now (Disc 1), what he's done as a producer/remixer (Disc 2), and what he might put on in some of his mellower moments at home (Disc 3). This is the first time such a package has been put together, and the artistic portfolio needed for the second disc obviously narrowed the potential field down for the folks at Renaissance HQ.
Tomiie fills the requirements easily and on this, his first outing on Renaissance, he again takes us in a similar direction heard on his "ES" and "ES - B" mixes released on his own Saw Recordings last year.
Very in the moment, Disc 1 is electronic all the way. It starts laid back and lush with Spirit Catcher's "Polysquasher", before starting to slowly build with smooth electro funk (Dan Berkson's "People") and groovy disco-tinged tech (Only Freak's "Viper Vapour") then going deeper (Stereo Type's sublime liquid tech "Somewhere"), crunchier (Jim Rivers "Future"), electronically crazier (Audiofly-X "Stolen Goods") and finally tougher. It's the middle of the mix where things start to get a bit twisted - and who can complain about that? - with eerie synths and strange but captivating, spoken words filtering over solid grooves. One highlight here is Martin Eyerer's "Wicked Line", the EastEnder hardman monologue doing quite a line on your subconcious, before Thomas Schumacher as Electrochemie provides a husky female take over tighter loops; the tension starting to rise for the end. The mix has a few techno-as-house moments, but never taken to an extreme with groovy moods counteracting things before heading back into sonically disturbing territory - check out track 10, Cass and Mangan's "I Love Your Shoes", for an example of this. Guy Gerber follows with his swinging electro piece "X-Factor", a slow-burn softly growling bassline overlaid with sparse percussion which opens up space for occasional joyous full-blown melody. This is another highlight, before the sweeping spacey throbbing and soulful ecstacy of Jim Rivers' "Restore" closes the set out.
Disc 2 is all about the productions of the DJ himself. In this case, it's Tomiie originals and remixes of his own releases by himself and others and, like a portfolio, it'll be interesting to see who's next up for 3D. Tomiie presents some of the house tracks which made him internationally, like "Tears", his deeper progressive style (Graffik - "Lesser Man"), newer material (Slok - "Lonely Child") and some of his big remixes like Future Sound of London's "Papua New Guinea" and Photek's "Mine To Give". Most of the tracks have had some further tweaking from Tomiie for this release, although thankfully, classics such as "Love In Traffic" are largely left alone. The mix stands out for this, as well as the mixing: the long intros and subtle track elements underpinned by solid percussion allowing Tomiie to show just how seamlessly he can play. The flow is pretty much as we'd hope from this type of house, building slowly and smoothly to the journey's end.
Last up, by now you're probably ready to kick back, chill out, and listen to something different - which is exactly what Disc 3 is all about. Mixed where possible, faded where not, this one wanders extravagantly through psychadelic disco, broken beats, jazz and soul classics. The Sneaker Pimps "6 Underground" will no doubt be the most familiar track for many, whilst appearances from Miles Davis "Solea" - a questing, mysterious 12 minute-long Arabesque journey, and James Brown "Give It Up Or Turn It A Loose" may be educational for those who know the names but don't have the history. Coming in near the end, Brown in particular has what it takes - this a jam whose break practically shows us the roots of breakbeat, with James going off to the funky-as-you-like bassline and peaking trumpets. Satoshi is well known for his New York sensibilities, and other tracks - the Barry White stylings of "Magic" from Bou-Kahn, or the soulful grooves of "Running Away" by Roy Ayers - show a strong background in American musical culture. Finishing with Azymuth "Fly Over The Horizon", we get quintessential 70s keys and organs with a very laid-back feel - a chill-fest if you will, with some classic disco sounds you might have heard on floors just a few years ago. Once again this mix endeavours to illustrate that it's not just about the music itself - it's how you put it together as well.
So an interesting package from the former Def Mix, Nubreed and now Saw Recordings star: the first CD definitely worth a listen for its up-front sounds and well-balanced programming; the second good for those who've missed some classic moments in Satoshi's career, or those who love their mixing silky smooth; and the third attractive if you like your "after-dinner coffee" Americano.
This combination really highlights the fact that this is a new series for Renaissance ie. not just your standard 2-CD set of warm-ups followed by same genre club bangers. It's a pretty varied selection we don't usually see, and while it might not have the magic of certain other legendary compilations, Tomiie has done a very solid job, of putting it all together.
Tue / 24 Jan 2006