"To Late" is a remix of Timbaland's rock collaboration with US pop group One Republic. It's a song that sees Timbo trying to repeat the success he found with great white soul hope, Justin Timberlake. But while we all had to accept that Timberlake has got the funk, One Republic make blandness a fine art. To be honest, the vocal still jars me a little, but overall the remix is expert, perfectly blending tearout breaks with the melancholy pop of the original. The pianos and Enya-esque vocal exclamations of Timbaland's original are balanced by a chunky two-step break, while echo-delayed vocals bounce across the top according to the dub/remix convention. Somehow reconciling tear-out mentality with the sombre vibes of the original, the bassline is fierce but sophisticated: like how jungle sounded before it all got a bit too fast. Each section changes just enough to keep the track fresh without feeling disjointed. Deekline's trademark simplified arpeggios appear over the dubby dance-rock bass to switch the vibe up a level just when it needs it, and the whole thing keeps chugging along nicely.
"Busta Don't Touch" is the latest in a string of Busta Rhymes remixes by the pair, but it's also part of a sub-series of its own. Previous versions have included a remix of Christina Aguilera's "Ain't No Other Man" and at least one other with a Busta Rhymes vocal. I must admit to being skeptical about exactly how "bootleg" these remixes are—in a way they seem too good to be true. There's no way you can make remixes so clean without having access to masters, right? Anyway, it's good. The vibe is more block party than warehouse party, with a slower tempo and low key rhythm-led bass, but it'll comfortably mix in most breaks DJs sets. Pitched stabs, hip-hop samples and old school breaks abound in this track, and the party hype vocal is a real classic, like most of Busta's work. The production gives the vocal room to breathe, but does bring in a bit of a UK style evil bass stab to bring the vibe up to date. Definitely one for when you're next playing a packed front room.
Closing out the release, I'm not sure what track "Give You" bootlegs, but it's got a real acid hardcore vibe: cheerful pianos; high pitched loved up vocals; all your favourite breaks. It begins with a jungle-style edited break and popcorn-style high pitched synth stabs. Again, there are more jungle vibes with the drop and what appears to be what used to be called a "Reese-style" bass: A long, deep, sustained bass riff that, played through a decent rig, is bound to get you feeling high. The drop in the middle has cheerful tinkly organ chords with heartfelt, diva vocals; then drops in for some more of the same. When people say ravebreaks, I think this is what they mean; but it's never too much and the production is never heavy-handed.
This whole release definitely has that old school vibe, but that doesn't mean it sounds old. With Hot Cakes reaching its 11th release, to those of us who have been following from the beginning it's starting to feel a bit formulaic perhaps. Nevertheless, with a formula this good and a lack of decent imitators, I think we can probably stand a couple more.