Carl Cox at Space – The Revolution Continues

Whether you call it Revolution, reinvention or, if you’re a jaded chinstroker, losing one’s way, there’s no denying that Carl Cox’s sets have been a bit of a mixed bag in the last decade. You never know quite what you’re going to get. And the same is true of his latest mix that marks the ninth year of his residency at Space.

The two CDs are a lot of things, but one thing they’re not is sweaty, chopped-up, three deck techno. Instead, Cox offers a muted mix of house music of various styles. There are a couple of bright spots, but often it’s ploddy and generic house, with lashings of prog strings and tech-house hi-hats.

Yes, there are some very satisfying build-ups, but on the whole, tracks are given too much airtime and left to their own devices. The mixing is smooth, layering is rare, and use of effects non-existent. In short, it doesn’t feel representative of a club set – and certainly not one from Carl Cox. That said, it’s a studio mix and Coxy doesn’t get on the microphone, so there is a silver lining here.

The first CD is the more downtempo one, but the difference is not as marked as, say, Sven Ví┬Ąth’s Seasons anthologies. Instead, Cox changes styles every other track – there’s even a broken beat in there – and even though the mixing is seamless, the programming is curious.

When it’s good, it’s great. There’s a cavalcade of familiar names from Steve Lawler to Technasia to Loco Dice to Gilles Peterson (yes, Cox is still doing his Latin thing). Newcomer Nicole Moudaber shines with summery Balearic tech on Reason Why.

But the new names aren’t all so adventurous. The Jon Flores remix of 2004’s sultry Jose Nunez monster Bilingual has some of the soul sucked out of it, as today’s remixes of old classics tend to do, but fortunately most of the vocals are intact and as arousing as the first time around. Joe Brunning samples Loleatta Holloway with vastly less success than Black Box or Marky Mark.

All told, this is a pleasant release that motors along in a non-offensive way. But it’s hard to imagine it working the Space dancefloor into a frenzy, and old hats may well be asking if the real Carl Cox could please stand up.

Carl Cox at Space – The Revolution Continues is out now on Safehouse through Stomp.