Ever since I bought John Digweed’s first Global Underground mix Double CD, I’ve always bought the latest John Digweed compilations
without hesitation. Historically his track choices and impeccable mixing have always virtually guranteed a deep bass driven mix that
doesn’t get too repetitive and is never boring. His mixes, in a word, have always had excellent “replayability”.
I believe I
purchased MMII at the Hollywood Virgin Megastore in December, 2002 while in L.A. on business. I must confess that when I put this
CD into the player of my rental car, I was a bit surprised. This is clearly not just a dance CD, and it departs radically from his
previous mixes. While the beats are certainly there, they don’t show up until well into this ten track mix. The first four tracks
on this mix are, in a word, subdued. During my initial listen, I wondered what direction Mr. Digweed was taking. After a few minutes,
it was clear to me that he intended this disc to be listened to as well as to make it move us on the dance floor.
starts out MMII with a sonically lush offering of Pollon’s eerie “Lonely Planet” and Pole Folder & CP’s beautiful “Dust”. Neither
track is a beat heavy affair, but both are exceptional productions. Things pick up in the third and fourth tracks, but with multiple
breakdowns and periods where the rhythm and percussion disappear to give way to more moody and ethereal sounds and melodies, one can’t
say that it really cuts loose. The fourth track is particularly cool, Sean 06’s “Of Course” has some amazing overlays in the background
that give one the feeling of a sci-fi soundtrack movie – kind of a “things are really what they seem” feel.
The mix starts to
kick it in with a more driving beat and steady bass line on the fifth track, The Flash Brother’s “Protect the Sense”. From here on
out, this remains a mix that aims to maintain a dance floor vibe. Of particular note is the segue way from Shakespear’s Sister’s “Black
Sky(Dub Extravaganza Part 2)” to James Holden’s “I Have Put Out the Light”. Toward the end of the mix, Spooky’s fabulous track, “Belong”
is brought in with the vocal club mix (actually, it’s the Flangescopic Dub on the 12” vinyl release). For those of you familiar with
this track, this particular remix pushes back Julie Daske’s vocals quite a bit to make them more ethereal. This remix really is great
for a peak time dance floor – even 2 years after release, I believe this track can hold its own. The final track is Charlie May’s
excellent remix of Mandalay’s “Deep Love” (Charlie May is also ˝ of Spooky).
Overall, MMII by John Digweed is impeccably mixed.
If you’ve never bought a John Digweed mix, I suggest combining the purchase of this CD with one of his offerings from the Global Underground
series. On MMII, Digweed challenges his usual audience with a new style that deviates a bit from his previous more progressive offerings;
but I advise you to rise to his challenge. It’s been over a year since I fist purchased this disc, and it still finds its way into
my Discman or my car CD player , and I’ll likely be listening to this mix for years to come. I believe that the John Digweed has created
a mix that has a great “build up” – with the slow and subdued start; you’ll be surprised that you’re moving to the driving electro-tinged
beats at the end of the mix. Perhaps, like me, you’ll wonder how you got there.