Various Artists - Renaissance: The Master Series, mixed by Dave Seaman
Fri 27th Nov, 2009 Music Reviews 2292 viewsin
Dave Seaman is one of my all time favourite DJs. I appear to own a greater number of mixed releases by him that almost any other DJ. Dave might not be one of the most fashionable DJs, but in my opinion he doesn’t need to be. His dedication to playing quality house music, while always entertaining audiences, means that he will endure beyond any fad or transient fashion. Dave’s back catalogue contains some amazing mixes of progressive house music, but there are some absolute standouts. There are two Global Underground mixes that immediately spring to mind, plus of course his last Master Series release and an earlier Renaissance release called Desire.
Of all Dave’s quality mixes, for me, it’s the Desire mix that really stands out from the crowd. It was truly an amazing mix of music and it bridged that sometimes impossibly wide chasm between depth and energy that exists in the Progressive House spectrum of sound. And the good news is, this latest Master Series from Dave has a deep energy and a feel about it that reminds me of Desire, but the question remains – is it as good or possibly even better?
The first disc starts in a manner that is so laidback, you feel like poking it to see if it’s alive. The word understated is an understatement indeed! The mixing and track selection is so clever that you get the distinct impression that the first fifteen minutes are all the same tune, when in fact there are three separate tracks used.
The afore mentioned Desire was released at the beginning of this decade, and it epitomised a style of deep progressive house that created a fusion of sounds through extended mixes. Whilst this release shares that deep and luscious house sound, this time around Dave has utilised seventeen tracks on the first disc alone. The higher number of tracks not only allows Dave to keep the listener’s interest levels high with a highly evolved sound, it also affords him a greater level of control over the mix. He uses this to build the tempo cleverly through excellent track selection, and then reining it back in to a more subdued level before looking once again for the next build. Clever stuff indeed!
Reading through the track list, I initially got the feeling that this was going to be a “greatest-hits” of progressive house as there were very few artists featured that I hadn’t heard of. Ben Watt, Extrawelt, Unkle, Quivver, Moby and Spooky all feature on the first mix alone! Yet for this stellar line up of artists, the music really does work brilliantly and the tracks complement each other to work as a whole rather than just a series of great individual tracks. Having said that, there are some tracks in the first mix which really do stand out. Quivver’s Sludge is pure progressive bliss, an absolutely mind-meltingly good piece of music that I really can’t get enough of. And if that track causes your mind to melt then the way the Youngesters Phoenix fusing with Svedala will end the job and cause your brain to drip into your leather boots. Trust me, this is really good stuff.
Does the second disc keep up the good work? In short, of course it does. If the first disc is all about clever programming then the second disc is all about creating a beautiful landscape of sound to lose yourself in! It may kick off in fairly laid back terms, but by the time Dave drops his own quite brilliant Gobbledegook the mix has well and truly taken off. The first time I played this mix I was out shopping, and listening to this CD caused me to completely lose track of what I was supposed to be doing. Instead of searching out purchases I found myself in shops I had no interest in, wandering aimlessly just immersed in the music. Beautifully hypnotic doesn’t even begin to describe this mix.
Once again, the second mix is filled with well known producers such as Guy J, Infusion, Nic Fanciulli, Nick Muir and Adam Freeland and once again their work allows Dave to deliver a product of the highest quality. If I sat here and talked about the stand out tracks in this mix I get the feeling that I’d be mentioning them all, so I’m going to nominate one single moment of pure unadulterated insanity by Popof called Shades. If that tune doesn’t have you dancing through, well … I don’t know what will!
By now, you will be acutely aware of my approval of this mix – but can I state with any confidence that this really is a Dave Seaman classic? Is it as good as Desire? Well, I get the feeling that only time will tell, but I honestly believe this is as close as Dave has ever come to matching that classic mix. The Master Series vol. 14 is a deeply luscious and highly emotional mix that is rammed full of both powerful and beautiful music. Progressive music seems to be undergoing somewhat of a seismic shift at the moment as wonderful melodies are coming back to the scene and Dave’s mix has definitely benefitted from that. But more than that, Dave’s ability to paint a picture that is greater than the sum of its individual parts shows why Renaissance regard his talents so highly, and why he really is a true Master.
Tracklisting for The Master Series:
1) Four Tet – Swimmer
2) Ben Watt – Guinea Pig (DJ Koze’s Vocal Variation Remix)
3) Culoe De Song – The Bright Forest
4) Butch Feat. Julie – Soultan
5) Extrawelt – Mit Liese Der Auf Wiese
6) Andre Winter – Trauma c/w UNKLE – Heaven (King Unique Acapella Remix) [Seaman’s Group Therapy Meeting]
7) Will Saul & Tam Cooper – Through The Smoke
Ian Pooley – Compact
9) Sahar Z & Audio Junkies – Beyond Detroit
10) Quivver – Sludge
11) Djuma Soundsystem – Bi Polar
12) Moby – Pale Horses (Gui Boratto’s Last Window Remix)
13) Triangle Feat. Joel Xavier – Three
14) Spooky – Outernebula
15) The Youngsters – The Phoenix
16) Fiol Lasse – Svedala
17) Jon Hopkins – Light Through The Veins (Ewan Pearson’s Downtown Lights Remix) [Seaman’s Intravenous Remodel]
1) UNKLE – Hold My Hand (Innervisions Orchestra Dub Mix) c/w Moderat – Les Grandes Marches
2) Guy J – Esperanza
3) Dave Seaman – Gobbledygook (Erphun Remix)
4) Agoria – Baboul Hair Cuttin (Radio Slave Remix)
5) Infusion – So Soon (King Unique Remix)
6) Jay Lumen – Morning Call
7) Nic Fanciulli & Steve Mac – 10%
Delphic – Counterpoint (Paul Woolford Remix)
9) Popof – Shades
10) Nick Muir – Fu Man Chew
11) Niko Fantin – Fire Games (Venue 44 Edit)
12) 16 Bit Lolita’s – Gig On The Moon
13) Gregor Tresher – The Life Wire
14) Freeland – Mancry (Gui Boratto Remix)
15) Darko Esser – Teardrops