Ah yes, a highly-anticipated two-disc 150-minute compilation by Erol Alkan, he of Trash club fame and resident at the Bugged Out! night that obviously prides itself in this sort of thing. Not that they shouldn’t, as the notion of getting an acclaimed DJ to do a highly-charged party-style club set on one disc and what is essentially a more laid-back mixtape vibe on the other is, indeed, an exciting one. But with Alkan they seem to have struck gold – that his star ascended most furiously during the rise of bastard pop and electroclash shows just how frequently his name was used as cool club currency a few years back; that he keeps your A.D.D.ictive correspondent enchanted for over two and a half hours shows just how well he still cuts it as a DJ.
Indeed, it’s as much his wilful eclecticism as it is his near-pristine taste that makes this collection so brilliant. That someone so knowingly admired by the fashionista indie-dance scene can start a club set with a blast of Deep Purple’s ‘Hush’ segued into an instrumental of Soulwax’s blistering ‘E Talking’ requires either balls of steel or an assurance that you know what you’re doing here. Presumably it’s both. That’s not to say that the achingly hip or downright exclusive aren’t featured here, as some of this is so hot right now that it’s a wonder the records don’t melt onto the deck. Not only is there last year’s chart-buggering hit ‘Rocker’ by Alter Ego but there’s also the new venture by one of said duo, Roman Flugel, in the form of ‘Geht’s Noch’ - essentially the sound of a canary getting jammed in your sub-woofer, but one of the standout moments because of it. There’s also a track from Tiga that’s so exclusive that it’s got Erol’s name in the title. His days as mash-up merchant Kurtis Rush still evidently affect his work too, as Simian howl over the top of neo-Euro-disco giant Etienne de Crecy, Goldfrapp writhes seductively over New Fast Automatic Daffodils and The Rapture wail their way in accompaniment to Wink’s climactic hard-house classic ‘Higher State Of Consciousness’. So overall, in terms of genre-bending, he’s less cheeky than the throw-it-at-the-dancefloor-and-see-what-sticks mentality of 2 Many DJs yet maintains a decent amount of both punk and funk at the same time. Or, in other words, it’s bloody great to dance to.
CD2, though, is a polar opposite in terms of atmosphere, balancing the first disc’s heady euphoria with what’s termed as the ‘Bugged In!’ mix. Indeed, it’s aim is to reflect the post-club experience when tunes are still being spun for the bleary-eyed and blissed-out. Granted, it may not always be relaxing – the appearance of the masked, magnificent Clinic is characteristically unnerving, and tracks like the rendition of Rolling Stones’ ‘Miss You’ by pop lovelies The Concretes are so elegantly marvellous that it’s difficult not to get excited about them. Thankfully the variance between age, style and obscurity levels remains intact, though, as the set meanders between the lounge-core likes of Julie London, the MBV-indebted sonic wall of M83, the classic British psych of Nirvana (no, not that one) and Gonzales in jazz piano mode. But as a simulation of lying on the DJ’s floor as the sun comes up whilst he flicks through his vast vinyl vaults, it’s highly effective, particularly as a droning ten-minute remix of ‘Big City’ by Spacemen 3 drifts away into birdsong. This, dear listener, is how to go out, stay in and fall asleep with a grin stretched across the face, all from the comfort of your own stereo. Check.
9Thomas Blatchford's Score