Various Artists – Carl Cox at Space: Join Our Revolution

Space legend Carl Cox invites us to join his revolution with his latest two-disc-er which returns to his heyday before the dodgy electro phase. Opening exactly how you want it to, all bassy and funky with the industrial edginess that used to be Carl’s signature sound, this is cement cracking techno the way it should be.

Right from the off, Carl drops hard, as YqueMas squelches into an even harder kickdrum from Beatmode with it’s rumbling sub-bassline happily rooting my ear canal. A bit of melody is welcomed in courtesy of Toni Moreno’s Piano Bar as I get the impression that Carl feels like he has a point to prove. Memo and Sheridan treat us to some hazy Ibizan disco loops with Sheridan’s acidic treat being my pick of the disc and it is not long before Robbie Rivera’s remix of Sax Heaven brings Calabria to mind with it’s funky-as-all-hell piano and sax riff. Fanciulli and Mac’s 10% may have been around a bit but damn it’s hot and here it settles the mix nicely. Sub-basslines and icy atmospheres return as Cox settles things after the initial peak. Rundell plays some cheeky Mind Games before the D’Julz reworking of a Slam classic positively educates me. Tokyo Connection is warm and charged as we revisit the Ibizan piano loop and diva vocal pass this time with a futuristic bleepy rumble. In the final straight, Carl reminds us of his tribal leanings briefly before Technasia’s Hard Mix of Living for the Time does exactly what it says on the tin. Last but not least, Trevor Rockliffe reminds us he’s still got it and as the disc fades out Carl has a fiddle with the effects. A nice raw touch fromt he big man to close.

Disc two opens with a languishing tech-funk intro which drops expertly into the delicious antique drum pattern of Petrae Foy & PJC project’s Simon as the mix begins to canter. D.Ramirez drops some rumbling bass and acidic videogame FX over a creepy melody as Cox takes us where the wild things are. The mix continues deeper into cold but efficient Germanic tech-house territory along the lines of the fantastic Elektrotribe sound, all industrial echoes and futuristic revs in a marked departure from the traditional techno sounds of the first disc. James Talk offers some positivity with the warm Yucca before the dream team of Oliver Moldan and Jim Rivers combine with restraint on Pink Mist. Continuing the theme of respecting history, Carl unleashes Cevin Fisher’s Freaks before full-on acid house takes over with the post modernist number Randoms from Milton Jackson destroying all that has come before. The mix is a bit Dark Side of the Moon with glassy expanses layered with celebratory warmth and industrial sound effects throughout. Joachim Garraud highlights the final straight with the catchy Area 55 continuing his cracking run and from here on in the disc starts to really soar. Wilson and co deliver a Perfect Sunrise complete with heavy bottom line, insistent piano loop and trancey swoops as Cox emerges from the cave out onto the terrace. Fergie’s Maktub is tall dark and handsome with complicated drum loops and rumbling intent before the legend brings us down with the evil Come in Space With Me and the Gallic robotics of Mason brings it to a smart close.

Throughout both discs, the words ‘no’ and ‘nonsense’ ring in my brain – the mixing is full bodied and harsh which gives the mix a human flavour and keeps the excitement flowing with the EQ dials remaining at 12 o’clock throughout. Disc one is the best thing since sliced bread while the second is strong and full bodied (like Carl) without being extraordinary (unlike Carl). All up, it has to be said Carl Cox is back and more alive than ever. The king is dead… long live the king.

Viva la revolucion!