Saturday, February 24, 2007

Dummy Blog Album of the Week: 'FabricLive 32' mixed by Tayo

I know absolutely nothing about nu skool breaks, nor have I ever particularly wanted to. But if I weren't so lazy, this DJ mix by Tayo – the breaks pioneer rather than the potato-based lactose-free milk substitute – might convince me to find out more. He draws a line through breaks to breakstep to dubstep, a move which in theory is pretty obvious but which in practice is, I think, unprecedented on a CD compilation like this one.

The first twenty minutes, though, bring an unexpected shanty house vibe, with a lot of gunshots and shouty MCs and charity-shop production values. Then things get serious with the Bassbin Twins' Woppa, which has bass like an outboard motor and is sparing enough with its snares that it could almost be dubstep. In fact, dub is all over this mix: get deep enough into dubstep and you could almost convince yourself that it was the first genre to conceive of putting an echoing synth skank over molten sub-bass, but breaks tracks like Tayo's own Dutty Bomb have just as much dub in their bones. Si Begg's Move Up and Deekline's remix of Ursula 1000's Step Back, on the other hand, keep the pace up, landing blows like Guile from Street Fighter II. There's none of the rigid plod here that you might associate with breaks if, like me, you've only occasionally wandered into the second room at Fabric.

Benga's taut Comb 60 signals the arrival of dubstep proper, followed by widescreen breakstep from Elemental. But the mix's most thrilling moment comes when his Soul Fire snuffs out and Warrior Queen kicks down the door. Here she's toasting over More Than Money by Sarantis, the Leeds-based producer who's putting together most of her forthcoming album. After that it's into the grated Amens of Skream's anthem Lightning., followed by some Digital Mystikz classics.

The only thing a dubstep fan hates more than hearing 'It's just slowed-down drum'n'bass, innit?' is 'It's just breaks but less cheeky, innit?' But Tayo's excellent mix shows that some of what dubstep does, breaks actually does better, because breaks has been doing it for a lot longer. And it's proof, if proof were needed, that the halfstep loyalists are missing out on a lot of fun.


Out now on Fabric

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