Scuba: DJ-Kicks (!K7)

An exquisite set of deep beats comes courtesy of the Hotflush honcho.

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Time Out Ratings :

<strong>Rating: </strong>5/5

It's tempting to assume that a mix squeezing 32 tracks in little more than an hour might come off as a bit of a mess, or perhaps a you-scratch-my-back shout-out to every producer that the set's creator has ever met. But in the hands of Paul Rose, the head honcho of the influential Hotflush label best known through his Scuba production monitor, the aural onslaught makes total sense. Rose is one of the main men of the postdubstep (or underground-urban, or whatever we're calling it right now) sound, an elusive genre that takes in everything from near-ambient musings and doomsday bass music to juke-inspired material and something approaching straight-up house and techno. There's obviously a lot of ground to cover, but each cut serves as a dot in the mix's pointillist panorama. It doesn't hurt that Rose is a great DJ who knows this music inside and out—which makes sense, since the veteran helped to create this world.

Much like Rose's late-night sets at his residency at the Sub:Stance party held in Berlin's Berghain, the mix starts fast (above 130bpm) and ends relatively slow (in the low 120s); at the same time, it proceeds from the more experimental end of the spectrum to a more traditionally party-rocking, housey motif. As you might expect from such a densely packed session, there's plenty of layering going in, but the individual tracks, no matter how briefly heard, stand out—most likely because they're almost uniformly great, with nary a time-killer among them. Incyde's IDM-meets-bass remix of Badawi's "Lost Highway" fuses foreboding dub to broken-beat percussion; Addison Groove laces military-precision drums through swooping synth runs on "An We Drop"; and Sigha's "Let Me In" positively rattles with an echo-chamber low end. There are plenty of spine-tingling moments as the set hurtles toward its finish: Recloose's "Tecumseh," with its uplifting, Detroit-tinged melody and angelic vocal sample, is a stunner, as is Rose's own (equally gorgeous) "Adrenaline," which adds a touch of nicely bleepy bass to the mix. It all ends with the died-and-gone-to-heaven ambience of Sepalcure's "Inside," a fitting finish to one sublime, awe-inspiring set.

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