Review: Rick Smith and Karl Hyde's Underworld name is one of those UK heritage projects that's been more than influential in shaping the mood of the scene nowadays. Since the late 1980s these guys have done it all and seen it all, accompanied by the likes of Darren Emerson on the journeys, and even featured on film soundtracks such as Danny Boyle's Trainspotting. Second Toughest In The Infants is their 1996 album, and while we hadn't heard it in a while, we're pleased to hear that it has aged remarkably well. In fact, its magnificent blend of growling house beats and placid breakbeat is almost refreshing to the ears nowadays. The freedom with which these guys operated is a pleasure to immerse yourself in, and if you haven't heard this LP yet, do yourself a favour.
Fabrizio Lapiana/SHDW & Obscure Shape - "Far Away/Augen Der Nacht" (Ryan James Ford version)
Benjamin Damage - "Montreal"
Mark Henning/Special Request/Wata Igarashi - "Expander Six/Carex Vesicaria/Lucifero"
Paper Dollhouse - "Crayons"
A Sagittariun/Anthony Linell - "Vanishing Point/Fractal Vision"
Hans Berg/Sine Sleeper - "N Dreams/Closing"
J Mono - "Sspses"
Review: For his first mix CD in some seven years, James Zabiela has pulled out all the stops. The brilliantly programmed and executed, studio style mix-up contains elements of an impressive 58 tracks across the two discs, which are designed as distinctive "Acts". Act 1 (that's CD1 in old money) is a largely downtempo affair geared towards home listening - a melodious and other-worldly sound soup containing everything from neo-classical reworks and off-kilter ambience to slo-mo progressive house, to mangled R&B breakbeat and lucid, head-in-the-clouds tech-house. Act 2 is an all-out dancefloor assault on the senses, with Zabiela speeding through bombastic, acid-powered jack-tracks, trancey tech-house, raw electro, sparkling techno futurism and grandiose sunrise anthems. It must have been a lot of work, but it makes for magical listening.