Mixtape Reviews


Posted on March 1st, by Massive Staff in 21, Reviews. No Comments


Kid Entropy

Lebanese Timing
Chicago

The renaissance man with the master plan comes through with this gem.  Mixing it up between real minimal tech stuff and afrofunk, there’s some tracks you will probably never hear in your lifetime on here.  Including SUV, Krust, Ray Keith, Ed Rush & Optical, and more, there’s something here to get your head bobbing and your feet moving.  The mixing is top notch, the tracks are fresh, funky, and not overplayed.  And I bet most of you thought he was just an MC!  Hah!  Grab this one, released through Untranslatable.  Wicked job.


Dylan Drazen

I am Focused
New York

This one looks to be the 15th tape from this techno madman, as the tape is labeled “DD15.”  Hard slam-bangin’ techno of the four-four variety on the seriously driving tip.  The audio quality is tops, the mixing is dead on and the trax are delicious and driving.  I barely even noticed the total lack of a J-card.  The print on the tape reads a quote from Luther Campbell that reads “If you can’t stand the bass take your crappy ass home.”  I concur.  Keep churnin’ up the butter and we’ll keep eating up the beats. (7/10) <helix>


Speed Demon and Zzino vs. Accelerator

Throbbing Encryptions
Washington DC

This 2-tape box with blue shell and professional printing took me by surprise, as I didn’t expect to see something like this still left in the ‘to review’ bin.  But as luck would have it, it’s all mine and a wealth of four-on-the-floor madness is contained within.  The three sides that I listened to first were all very entrancing indeed; however, when I reached the last side is when a tear was brought to my eye.  The ultra-violent side by Speed Demon grabs ya by the balls (or the tits, depending on your gender) with that Land of the Lost record, and from there, no one is safe.  The hard, tracky madness that ensues is pure fucking bliss.  A must have for fans of hard house and techno alike. (9/10) <helix>


Fleak and Mr. Science

52L
Minneapolis

The track listing is what initially attracted my attention to this particular tape, as it looked to have sort of an old-skool acid feel to it… and sho ’nuff.  This one drops no-nonsense breaks and builds on a harsh acidic tip to melt the snow from your dome.  It’s nice to hear some classics that haven’t been dropped in some time in our neck of the woods (especially “Solution” by force mass motion, Mr. GTO himself on, of all labels, Rabbit City!).  New skoolers, check the steps on this one, and old skoolers, be prepared to hear classics like Hardfloor’s “Acperience” and bug out!  Keep up the good work and thanx for sending the porn and booze!  Reviews are hard work, and these truly aided in the process and relieved the pain.  (8.5/10) <helix>


Thee-O

Moments &  Cybersex 5
Los Angeles

Tapes like this will soon be made illegal.  Both sides are a seamless mix of uplifting, progressive trance wrapped in a warm cozy blanket of pure bliss.  Stuff like this makes tapes hard to review, so do yourself a favor and check this one out.  You’ll never know how to describe it.  Cybersex 5 is perfect if you like Dave Clarke and hate trance with a passion, whereas Moments will most likely give you second thoughts.  It’s again another seamless mix by the man who can turn oil and water into a blissful mix of emotions and rump-shaking action.  Lots of proggy and straight up trance here with just a little bit of breaks.  Good mixing and good music on each 10/10 <AC>


Dan Efex

Ali3n Di5ko
Chicago

Living with the Leprechaun does have its highlights (contrary to popular belief) and this gem of a tape is one of them.  An advanced release of the next effort from the Chicago veteran proves to be very much to my liking.  To say that this is sort of the evil twin of Efex’s “S.E.T.I. Project” mix is the closest I can come to describing it in mere human terms.  If you’re familiar with his previous efforts, then by all means expect more of the same professionalism.  This is a foray into the dark and more exciting (in my opinion) side of trance, with bits of straight-up techno making it into the mix.  A very refreshing tape from the one we’ve all come to respect as the trance authority of the midwest. (8.5/10) <helix>


Kid Icarus

Liquid Synergy
Minneapolis

One of the many tapes that have flooded in from Minneapolis, this one (like most of the others) delivers the goods.  A trancer of epic proportions, this one’s full of melodic builds and breakdowns.  It gets a bit hokey for me at times (some woman ranting about the planet of liquid sky and the ever-cheesy/cheeky “God is a DJ”), but over all, a decent piece of work.  Nice J-card and excellent sound quality make for a keeper. (7.5/10) <helix>


DJ Stix

Remembering
Chicago

This one came packaged in a large manila envelope, and inside was a plastic file folder with a profile (photos and all!) and the tape.  Almost as cool as the porn and booze, but not nearly as effective at holding my attention.  The music, on the other hand, held my attention and then some.  Tight mixing and excellent programming add up to a crowd-pleaser of a jam.  Let this be a lesson to you all, then, that attractive packaging will receive the attention it deserves, as you take time and energy to market yourselves.  An excellent tape may get passed up because it’s not visually as attractive, and therefore, doesn’t stand out among the hordes of tapes we receive.  (Porn and booze work best!)  (7.5/10) <helix>


Tilzs

Worm Sign
Rapid City, SD

This one came as a surprise to me as far as location goes.  I had no idea there was even a scene in South Dakota.  This tape is truly a progressive one in the sense that it takes the entire genre of sci-fi and conceptually molds it to a musical vision of the whole Frank Herbert/Dune concept.  Filled with sound bites from the actual movie, this tape makes listening a challenge as well as a pleasurable acid techno trip.  Keep blazin’ trails out in the middle of nowhere and we’ll hear you out!  You may not be able to scream in outer space, but even in the most remote sections of the Midwest, if you scream loud enough, you will be heard. (8/10) <helix>


Moonboy

Good Evening
Chicago

This one was handed to me in a pile and frankly didn’t do much to jump out at me.  Good mixing, good sound quality, excellent programming and a nice J-card all add up to something that was really good, but not exactly astoundingly unique or proportionally awe-inspiring.  Definitely not one to overlook, especially if epic is your bag; you won’t be disappointed. (7/10) <helix>


Brian Stillwater & DJ Bliss

Inner Course
Baltimore, MD

These boys from out East have concocted quite a scorcher this time.  Prime mixing (beautifully timed, at that) and some of the funkiest trax known to man on a tape with crisp, clean sound add up to something a cut above the rest.  Just by the sheer weight of the slammin’ trax contained within the magnetic boundaries of this little package.  Give it a whirl and you won’t be disappointed. (8/10) <helix>


Mumtaz

Beta Decay
Chicago

Here is Chicago techno lad DJ Mumtaz’s first and self-proclaimed “3-deck lump of craziness.”  The overall mood of this three-turntable set is fast and bold from start to finish.  His track selection includes (too many to mention) harder-than-your-father oldies but goodies.  The turntable tricks are done fairly well without upstaging the continuity of the music, which is better than cutting up the records for the hell of it and making them sound like one disaster after another.  The second side of the tape has literally everything– beat-juggling, cutting, and scratching.  This makes this 3-turntable set different from others I have heard (sets by Algorithm come to mind) and the pace of the entire mix is violent and no-holds-barred.  The mixing is intentionally not subtle nor smooth.  Rather than taking away form the vibe of the tape, that element adds to its aggressiveness.  I can’t ignore that the mixing is a bit stormy in a few spots, but I would bet that watching him do this live would certainly be most interesting, not to mention fun. <doris>


Steven Kaye

Born in a Basement
Milwaukee

Anyone familiar with this guy knows exactly what to expect from this tape… or do they?  I popped this bad boy in the player and heard some serious techstep comin’ out.  “OK, I put in something else on accident,” I thought to myself.  Bzzzt – Incorrect.  Sure enough, Steven Kaye on the label.  So I sat back and thoroughly enjoyed the ride.  One of Milwaukee’s most dedicated and least appreciated takes you on a journey through all types and styles as only he can by slapping the safety harness over your head and whizzing you through a roller coaster ride of a live mix.  The sound quality is smooth as ever, and the J-card is, well… curious.  Overall, another solid effort from everyone’s favorite radio jock (91.7 WMSE Milwaukee, Saturdays from 9pm-12am). (8/10) <helix>


Xsentrix

Homeless
Madison, WI

This was given to me at a birthday party a few weeks back by the man himself.  Let’s start by saying that the J-card depicts him strolling through Times Square in New York (where he’s originally from), and that kinda sets the tone.  Side-A is an excursion through the trancey side of things, with tracks by the likes of Paul Van Dyk and Arrakis, to name a few of my favorites.  The B-side is the house side, stomping on some old familiar territory with that Stardust record and rolling up with the Bootzilla towards the end of it to make it truly appealing to this listener.  The Bootsy Collins stuff is what sets it apart from the rest of the rehashed house classic stuff that everyone is used to.  He hooks you with the sure shot, and then sends some bona fide funk your way to make you groove.  Top-notch audio and plenty of flanging keep this one interesting as well as easy on the ears.  All in all, a quality product with variety. (7.5/10) <helix>


Curly

The Beauty of Strength
Austin, TX

This is the first tape from The Rollers Redefined’s Curly.  Curly has grown up quick in the hard-to-break-in Texas jungle scene.  This tape takes you on an afro-funk junglist trip that you wish won’t end.  Curly is an up-and-coming in the jungle scene, so be sure to check this tape out. <jenni>


Twist-1

Mixtape from the Nine-Eight
Austin, TX

This tape follows up “Mixed in the Back of a Van,” one of my favorite jungle tapes of late ’97-early ’98.  The first side is jazzy tunes that get you into a groove and the rough side is really not my style, but the mixing is superb and very clean.  It is definitely a must-have for two-steppers or those into afro-funk. <jenni>


Madkid & Cisko

Sonic Construction
Minneapolis

Ladies and gentlemen, I’m pleased to say that I am in possession of “the feelgood hit of the summer.” This is the one they’ll be talking about for years to come.  Cisko owns the A-side, starting out with a funky-chunky slab of creamy, peanut buttery tek-haus, mixed as smooth as your girlfriend’s ass.  Coming from a kid I met standing on a corner panhandling for 67 cents for the bus ride home, this is quite the surprise.  As for the B-side (Madkid), it starts out with a sample from “Shawshank Redemption” and proceeds to kick your ass around the block with some of the freshest, hard steps I’ve ever heard.  The smooth looking J-card, prime audio quality, and fresh ingredients make this one impossible to pass on.  Buy this on sight. (9/10) <helix>


Matt MacQueen

Interior
Chicago

God, this is good house.  This mixtape, from new Chicago resident and Michigan native Matt MacQueen, oozes with deep soulful house from every pore.  With music from labels like Fragile and Elevate (Dan Bell’s house label) and artists like Carl Craig and Kenny Dixon Junior, how can you go wrong?  The mixes are nice and the music is true.  Slip this in during a car ride or when you just wanna get motivated and shake your arse a bit.  Near to perfection; play it loud.


DJ Fiat-Lux

Vinnanakkhandha
Minneapolis

From the land of Jesse “The Mind” Ventura comes this nice DIY CDR from Fiat-Lux.  Straight-up chunky disco house with some very smooth mixing.  No complaints here, although I wish it had come with a tracklisting and a translation of the title.  If you’re looking for a damned fine house disc from someone new to the game, feast on this. <dica>


Terry Mullan & Phantom 45

Vanilla Gorillaz Vol. 1
Chicago

Two of the Windy City’s top DJs throw down a side each on this tape.  The talent and diversity of this tape make it a sure bet to be rocking in many a tape deck.  Love him or hate him, Terry throws down a banging acid house and disco house set that sounded like something he might play overseas.  He even includes a couple original disco surprises.  Phantom rocks it as usual with a selection of the drum and the bass, on more of a technical tip with a definite Virus/Ram sound.  The tracks are all real fresh and recent, and this side really showcases Phantom’s talent to blend the mixes.  Both sides are extremely tight and well-mixed, and after listening to this tape, there’s really no doubt in my mind why Phantom and Terry remain some of the top DJs in the USA in their respective fields. <dica>


Wilhelm K.

Make a Change
Los Angeles

Wil does it again with the first effort since his recent move to the west coast.  Although this tape is a solid house stomper chocked full of energy, and contains a good bit of DJ trickery, it doesn’t compare to seeing him play live.  Don’t get me wrong, this tape rocks as hard as a tape can, but to fully appreciate this tape, make sure you see him work his shit on the decks.  This whitey sho’ can werk it.  Smooth audio quality and a pretty cool lookin’ J-card add up to a pretty cool package.  Oh, and if you’re reading this Wil, thanx again for letting me, Joe, and the ladies stay with you in Minneapolis! (8.5/10) <helix>


DJ E-Tones

Beat Exorcist
Minneapolis

At first glance, the J-card didn’t exactly catch my eye, but after one listen, I knew I had a keeper.  This one’s on the downtempo side of the house, but it still rocks it to and fro.  A dollop of disconess, a slab of beefy beats, and a fat-ass scoop of funky, mashed taters wit’ gravy make this a feast of a tape.  Sadly, however, this tape contains no contact info.  Poop.  (8/10) <helix>


DJ Abstract

Loud & Kicking

Abstract in the mix, UNDERSTAND?  Real hard house from some folks who really know how to bang it..  There’s four separate 15-20 minute mixes here from George Centeno, DJ Nemesis, DJ Work!, and La Rok.  This is the sort of thing you’d be apt to hear on Chicago’s B96, for certain.  The first two mixes seem to be showcasing Centeno’s and Nemesis’ original material.  DJ Work! mixes almost all Abstract records, and La Rok plays a variety of different labels.  Of all the mixes, my favorite is easily the selection from DJ Nemesis.  This is the kind of hard house that sounds like slower hardcore.  The tempo is fast, the scratching is like lightning, and the mixing is tight.  With tracks like “Face Down Ass Up,” don’t expect any particularly deep or challenging music.  Just sit back and enjoy the ride.  If you want to feel like you’re back in Chicago for a weekend, pop this sucka in the deck. <dica>


Mystic Bill & Jes One

Rhythmic Pressure

Chicago and Rockford, IL move one step closer to one another, and for once it ain’t because of urban sprawl.  Mixing it up in their own way, each on his own half of the disc, Billy and Jes lay down a sweet array of house music along the lines of their individual taste.  Mystic Bill’s mix begins the CD with some amazing disco-influenced house, peaking with Byron Stingily’s “Mighty Real.”  For only having about 36 minutes to work with on his half, Bill is on top with his ability to change up the mix seamlessly; after bringing the mix to the edge of filterhouse madness, he drops the mix into chill mode with tracks like Harrison Crump’s “For All Those Times.”  It’s always been my opinion that the best DJ is the one who can take you up and down in the course of a set.  Many DJs require extended sets to accomplish this, but Mystic Bill’s years of club and rave DJing experience has transcended this.  Stardust’s “Music Sounds Better With You” into the mix kinda drops a less-than-timeless element into the mix, but this contender for the ‘most-overplayed track of all time’ award probably wasn’t so stale when this mix was laid down.  Overall, Bill’s mix conveys what it’s like to hear him live pretty well, and in a year, you’ll shake your ass as hard to Stardust as you did when you first heard it.

Jes One picks up the second half of the mix with more filtered disco sounds and driving house toons.  The first half of his mix is pretty straight and relentless, allowing very few breakdowns.  The style he shows of himself in the better part of this mix is of a great, seamlessly-mixing DJ that knows how to keep a floor moving.  The last CD we received in from Jes was his ‘Club Anthems’ mix, which included Daft Punk, Robert Miles, Porn Kings, Sneaker Pimps, and Jason Nevins/Run DMC; basically all the biggest and commercial dancefloor hits of 1998, so it’s not surprise that he would close his mix with a “Ring My Bell” remix, a CeCe Penniston song, and a Michael Jackson song remake.  This shouldn’t be taken the wrong way, as it shows that Jes One understands that when it comes down to it, it’s what makes the crowd move that matters.  Your tastes may be otherwise, but his ability to do so cannot be denied.


Bad Boy Bill & Richard 'Humpty' Vision

House Connection 2
MCM, US

Chicago and LA hooked it up on this one.  Mixed on four turntables, this is a pretty definitive collection of the different flavors of house music out there right now.  Both these guys have been in the business for many years, and it certainly shows on this disc.  You can definitely tell certain tracks that Richard decided to play, and which tracks are Bill’s choices.  I’m much more a fan of the banging Chicago house and acid music (still can’t get enough of Mark V and Poogie Bear’s “War”), but most of the vocal house on here wasn’t too bad either.  This disc is mixed flawlessly, put together with a lot of thought, and deserves your ears.  Also, pop this CD in your computer for a nice little video showcase as well.  House music definitely made (and continues to make) a big influence on what electronic music has become today.  This is the connection… <dica>


Bad Boy Bill

Global House Culture 4
ESP Sun, US

From the land of Chicago and house music comes this diverse selection of wax from a B96 mixmaster.  However, this is not your typical B96 set.  Bad Boy Bill seems to get a bit deeper on this one, mixing everything from Frankie Bones to DJ Sneak; from acid to electro to disco house.  There’s very little in the way of booty-banging house, and it really showcases the wide talent that BBB has for house and techno music.  No surprises on the mixing tip, as every mix is quick and near perfection.  Also including Hyperactive, Todd Terry, CZR, and Rick Garcia, this mix disc is definitely one you don’t wanna pass up. <dica>


Terry Mullan

Speaker Phreaker
Sm:)e, US

Terry Mullan picked the cream of the crop when he chose these records- ranging from Paul Johnson’s “It’s a Love Thang” to Ramsey & Co.’s “Love Call.”  This CD is a bit deeper then what he plays out, but still booty enough to keep your ass shakin’ through the whole CD.  Definitely a must buy for Terry Mullan and house fans. <jenni>


Keith Fielder

Techno Methods Vol. 1 [London]
Distance, UK

London’s SLAM club resident Keith Fielder lays down a sweet mix for the first of the Distance ‘Techno Methods’ mix CD series.  This one nearly fell through the cracks here at the Massive compound, as it was only discovered as I was searching intently for my Metallica ‘Ride the Lightning’ CD while busting out the last of this issue’s layouts.  Sweet, strange fate.  Some things make the mind concentrate so much better on the mundane existence of proofreading and layouts, and since I gave up crackrock and mail order brides, Techno is my new savior.  The more seamlessly mixed and driving the better, and this CD lays it straight.  Adam Beyer, Heiko Laux & Johannes Heil, Beltram… need I say more?  Mercy. <matt>


DJ Icey

The Funky Breaks
Polygram

The funky breaks man himself comes through with a CD of some of the best breakbeat tracks released.  With songs from artists like Red Myers, Headrillaz, DJ Decent, and The Ride Committee, along with two of his own tracks, “Grand Canyon Suite” and “Beats A Rockin.” This CD is mixed without missing a beat and you’ll want to dance the entire set.  By far the best CD put out recently. <hi.spd.chase>


Ron D Core

Psychotic Episodes:  The Mad Doctor
VWax, US

The West Coast sends out one of their terrorists to wreak a bit of global havoc.  ‘Psychotic Episodes’ is just what the doctor ordered, and that’s what you get here from such labels as Bloody Fist, Strike, Brutal Chud, Rage, and Ron’s own Atomic Hardcore.  The mixing sounds a mite forced and leaves a little to be desired (please, no more backspins out of mixes), but the track selection can’t be beat.  It’s got the classic “Intellectual Killer” by Nasenbluten, a few nice Syndicate tracks, the I Dream Of Jeannie remix “Dimples D” by Noize Generator, UK Skullfuck’s “La Haine,” and the phenomenal “Speedragga” by Tieum.  The insert is beautiful – unfold it and you’ve got a big cross with some lovely bondage pictures of girls in nurse outfits.  Very nice.  Soundwise, the levels really needed to be adjusted before releasing this, as some records are just a lot quieter than others.  Overall, I liked the effort, and the music really speaks for itself. <dica>


DJ Gigolo

International DeeJay Gigolos CD II

This CD is, in short, fun as hell to listen to.  Straight out of DJ Hell’s Munich-based label, this 12-track compilation, whose lineup includes Miss Kittin and The Hacker, Chris Korda, and Dynamic Bass System, features bouncy-to-funky-to-quirky electro sounds that remind you of days gone by, even if that wasn’t the intention of some of the tracks.  The mood of the CD gives a slight, not-too-serious attitude, although it’s not really a house party CD, as such.  Standouts include Dynamic Bass System’s “Arabian Dreams,” featuring a cool electro voiceover throughout the number, Miss Kittin and The Hacker’s “1982” and “Frank Sinatra,” an interesting number, ironically bearing little relevance to the dearly departed Chairman of the Board.  A potential favorite for electro connoisseurs and for people who hate electro “cuz it all sounds the same;” this Gigolo release proves otherwise.  <doris>


Juan Atkins

Wax Trax Mastermix Volume #1
TVT/WT, US

The Godfather of techno is electronic music’s unsung icon.  For longtime fans his new record is a nostalgic treat and for new generation dance music converts, it is an education.  Atkins chooses a mix cross-sampling some of his most evolutionary releases, like “No UFO’s” with remixes of tracks by other hall of fame hits in the techno genre.  His mixes of “Lara’s Theme,” “Another Due” and the Rick Wade track, “Prime Time” are sure to get booties shakin’ right out of their chairs.  The CD starts off on the classic, funky tip, moves to the smooth side of the beat and then onto a gritty hard funk winding down with a cool remix of Maurizio of Basic Channel’s track entitled “7.”  This is a must have for dance music fans of all genres, because without the sound of Atkins, there is no techno. <tamara>


Adam X

Wax Trax Mastermix Vol. 2
TVT/WT, US

This is truly a sight to behold.  Not only is this an Adam X mix, but it’s on CD.  How many of us (at least here in the Midwest) can claim ownership to or that they’ve even seen even an Adam X mixtape?  I can assure you that the number is few.  I have found this to be 100% flawless (whether or not this is due to mastering is inconsequential, as I’ve witnessed him play a flawless set and know he’s capable of such works) and with the material contained within, this one is almost a no-brainer for purchase.  This techno purist’s dream is choc-full of timeless stuff; highlights that include Acid Jesus’ “Radium,” DJ Rush’s “Filter Beast,” and of course Kevin Saunderson’s E-Dancer.  Buy this CD immediately or be assimilated in the madness that ensues. <helix>


Terrence Parker

Classic TP Mix Vol. #2

Terrence Parker knows how to make me want to dance.  This man is a master mixer and trickster all in one — a rare DJ combo. TP plays all the house anthems of 1998, at least in my book, and he knows how to catch the groove, recreating the party every time.  Volume #2 is definitely not a low-grade sequel. <tamara>