Artist: Various Artists compiled by John Digweed
Title: Bedrock 18 – Signals
Label: Bedrock Records
Release: 2nd December 2016 – Pre-Order here
With its 18th birthday celebrations due this month, Bedrock releases a brand new, twenty-one track triple-pack compilation to mark the special occasion. The package features many exclusive tracks which have littered John Digweed’s sets over the last twelve months and will no doubt be lapped up by fans of the irrepressible progressive house master. So what does it sound like then?
CD1 opens up with the thoroughbred triumvirate of Emerson, Digweed, and Muir, brought together for a re-imagining of their recent track ‘Fanfare’. For this compilation it gets hauled into Emerson’s garage for an E-Dancer style rave-makeover (minus the beats). A brooding moody opener for the compilation. It’s immediately apparent as you listen through that the compilation has the usual Bedrock stamp of quality all over it, so chunky progressive techno and house dominate. Collective Machine and Phillip Straub chip in with the electro tinged ‘Hold You In The Moment’ which rocks along nicely. Brazilian duo Digitari take things deep and dark with their cut ‘Revenge Of The Fantasy’, which features sultry whispered vocals and out there atmospherics. A real highlight is
A real highlight is Romboy’s remix of ‘Fanfare’ which packs some old school punch and one of those trademark fat electro bass lines. Elsewhere Moonface provide another killer bass groove on ‘Across The Gulf Of Space’ while Guy J takes us on a more hypnotic trip into late night dance floor fodder with ‘2026’, a throbbing progressive beast of a track. Eagles and Butterflies fresh from outings on Innervisions intriguingly choose to cover techno DK8’s techno behemoth ‘Murder Was The Bass’ (here in its Lee Van Dowski re-edit of E&Bs Remix). Whilst lacking the immediacy and sheer clout of the original, this is nevertheless likely to cause some damage with its throbbing bass line. Despite my reservations about anyone taking on this techno classic, it’s a worthwhile remake and brings the track to a new audience successfully.
Quivver opens up CD2 with some sublime widescreen ambience on his ‘This Was Reprise’. Stelios Vassiloudis then warms the dancefloor up with ‘Volver’ before Tiefstone and CJ Jeff crank up the techno factor for ‘Kratos’ and ‘Side Effects’ which both hit pretty hard. D-Nox & Beckers are artists I’ve always rated and ‘Mondays’ (after a lengthy intro) drops into some gorgeous Detroit style arps which do not disappoint. Ryan Davis and Microtrauma venture down a more minimal path before their track ‘Recurrence’ crescendos in a wall of discordant noise. Indeed the second half of the CD has some fairly minimal techno orientated offerings with Dave Angel making another appearance on the label for his abrasive ‘Inside Out’. Generally things are as I mentioned pretty techy until French newcomer Kontakt hits us with the elegant melodies of ‘Wild Forest’ which provides a fine conclusion to CD2.
CD3 is interestingly an artist album from Netherlands-based chilled maestro C-Jay. Over recent years the public’s interest in ambient electronica seems to have been re-kindled and many techno artists such as Vince Watson and Chymera have put out ambient albums in either their own names or under other aliases. The quality here is high with Vangelis-like strings and emotive pads wrapped around carefully selected vocal samples. The CD functions as the calm after the techno storm of CD2 and C-Jay is undeniably a talented artist. No doubt including this as part of the CD package will gain him the further exposure he deserves. Overall the package is what we expect from Bedrock; high quality, forward thinking dance music which is both emotive and dance floor friendly.