Various Artists
Get Lost: Mixed by Damian Lazarus and Matthew Styles
Crosstown Rebels
2006
B



minimal’s hot these days, but the music made its name on being cold. Few know the problem better than Crosstown Rebels label co-heads Damian Lazarus and Matthew Styles, who have done everything they can to showcase aspects of the genre that open up and embrace the warmth. Last year’s micro-goth masterpiece Rebel Futurism Session Two (mixed by Lazarus alone) featured the enveloping sounds of Michael Mayer’s remix of “Happiness,” DJ Koze’s “Brutalga Square,” and the hopped-up electro of Anthony Rother. Far from the heavily-hyped (Stylus included), but ultimately one-note Superpitcher mix, Today, Lazarus moved deftly between emotions, while also serving up a perfect introduction to the micro/minimal/whatever sound.

Lazarus’ continuation of that mix comes in the form of the first disc of Get Lost. This time, the big names are mostly gone (save a repeat performance from DJ Koze and a track from Monolake). But Get Lost’s first disc doesn’t suffer—in fact it might just be better than its predecessor.

Obviously the track selection has something to do with it: Someone Else’s rework of Butane’s “Sound of Digidown” provides rising action to “Plumbicon”’s climax, while Solieb does the same for Ost & Kjex’s “How Not To Be A Biscuit.” Even Und’s “Cocopuffs” and Ra-X’s “Opium Den Part V” work, despite not technically mixing with anything. (Unsure of how to end the mix, they just throw them in at the end—which would be a problem if they weren’t so stunning.)

When the duo does mix things, they does so expertly. Mademoiselle Caro & Frank Garcia’s “Far Away” melds its bucephalus bouncing balls seamlessly into Repeat Repeat’s melodic bass intermission “Carpark.” Later as the mix begins to move from cold, insular tracks to a hotter, more open sound, DJ Koze’s “Pattern Wirtschaft” invites Rob Mello’s “Give Me” riff into its stiff, watery murk. With the proliferation of programs like Ableton Live, mixes like this are now more commonplace than ever, but it’s still thrilling to hear when track selection, mixing, and pacing converge in one package.

Get Lost’s second disc is another beast altogether. Presented unmixed, the tracks here are a definite hodgepodge. In quick succession, you move from the grinding techno of Naum to the Battles remix of Four Tet’s “A Joy” to the Messthetics of Position Normal’s “Jimmy Had Jane.” If there are connections to be drawn, it’s hard to see them clearly. Sure, it’s nice to know that Lazarus and Styles love a whole host of music outside the house world, but will Crosstown fans tastes be broadened or Anaerobic Robots fans come to minimal? What might’ve been a powerful statement as a single release, instead here feels like an extraneous appendage.


Reviewed by: Todd Burns
Reviewed on: 2006-06-15
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