Damian Lazarus – [Album]

Friday, 25 May 2007

I got my first taste of the Crosstown Rebels label when I picked up Rebel Futurism Sampler Part 1 with the M.A.N.D.Y. remix of Joakim’s “Come Into My Kitchen” a few years ago. Ever since then, hit after hit has been pouring from the London-based electronic label. With a roster including such visionaries as Pier Bucci, Frankie Flowerz and 3Channels, the label is pretty much guaranteed success. It appears that label-owner Damian Lazarus needed to get the word out some more and put out the inaugural Crosstown Rebels Vol. 01, mixed by none other than Lazarus himself.

The album creeps in from some dark territory with the tech-house jam “City Boy” by Minilogue. Its mellow bassline, intertwined with what sounds like a 303 struggling for air, builds, breaks, drops in, then builds again, setting the tone for an excruciatingly beautiful mix. This song seamlessly flows into “Electric Generation (Rob Mello No Ears Dub)” by Presslaboys. The underwater groove with the robotic vocals singing, “Time to Move / Electric Generation” are there to help guide you along because by this time your head is 2-feet deep in the subwoofer and your eyes haven’t been open for 10 minutes.

Of course our boy from Glasgow, Alex Smoke, needs to get in there. Song 3 is enough time for your stomach to settle into the cavernous rhythms begging for anti-depressants. His contribution is a mesmerizing remix of “Safari” by André Kraml feat. Schad Privat. This song—and the entire album for that matter—borders on old school. The deep house of yesteryear definitely has its grip on the mix’s throat. Alex Smoke’s remix is a drill to the center of the earth, clearing a path to Lucifer’s doorstep. It’s unfathomable and shadowy, and superbly evil. And when the Dark One opens the door, 3Channels’ “We Was There Tomorrow” is playing on his turntable. Hell has good jams, that ain’t no joke.

Another highlight on the mix is Black Strobe’s “Last Dub On Earth,” where Arnaud Rebotini remixes the hell out of this thing, tightening up the bassline and adding in some dope touches to darken up this jam a bit to fit the mix. Also ruling this mix is Jennifer Cardini & Ho’s “Stay (Roman Flügel Remix).” This song pounds and pounds with eerie and sexy vocals, turning into a freaky jam you’d most likely find on Poker Flat Recordings.

Lazarus definitely knows how to lay down a proper mix, chock full of peaks, valleys, as well as weighty and measured rhythms all keeping your mind focused on the task at hand. His motto has got to be “Hello darkness, my old friend,” since the songs that comprise this mix are all so sinister and intense. It’s tech-house/electro-house at its finest, all hand-picked by the owner himself, so that seal of approval is securely on the package. So for those of you who like it spooky and murky, heavy and thick, get this album. And as my friend in Berlin says, “This is what everyone is playing here. It’s so good!”

Crosstown Rebels Vol. 01 is out now

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