James Zabiela/Various Renaissance: Utilities

It’s the modern DJ’s dilemma: vinyl, CD or computer? Affirmed technophile James Zabiela ducks the question, giving us one CD mixed with Ableton’s Live software, and another mixed with three Pioneer CDJ-1000s. It’s a sign of today’s technology and his technique that other than scratching with the CDJs and including movie samples with Live, there aren’t many obvious differences with a normal DJ mix, unless you have profound knowledge of the tracks he’s slicing and dicing. In short, it’s not some crazed cut-up mix, both discs are just seamless dance music, well-mixed. Both are up-tempo and funky, with a variety of house, techno and break beat tracks. The Live mix is a little smoother, with great tracks from Decomposed Subsonic, the Consumer and Zabiela. The CDJ mix, which sounds a bit more like a standard mix, is certainly punchier, with proper techno funk from Trentemoller, Montero and Ellen Allien. In the liner notes he also gives detailed instructions on how you can replicate the CD mix at home. Thankfully, with all the technology at his disposal, he doesn’t get lost in tweaking, but concentrates on danceable fun. (Renaissance)