Oneman Fabriclive 64
As bright as Oneman's torch burns for The Simpsons and the almighty ganja, it blazes even brighter for the distinctly British brand of hybrid house known as UK garage (or 2-step). The genre's trademark bump 'n' flex is all over this Rinse FM DJ's latest mix for the Fabriclive series, which pairs underground anthems with fresh cuts from a new breed of (mostly British) bass wunderkinder. Party-rocking is Oneman's strong suit, and he expertly lays out the cards here, drawing connections between new tracks from Distance, Pearson Sound, and Joy Orbison and the late-'90s/early-'00s cuts that have undoubtedly inspired them.
Though Oneman has been known to play everything from Wiley to Donna Summer, he sticks to a theme here, and it proves exciting until the last drop. An emotional ambient piece by Mark Pritchard (of Harmonic 313 and Africa Hitech fame) acts as a surprising intro, dropping hard into a one-two punch of VIPs: a special version of Fis-T's spooky, rubbery-bassed "Night Hunter" seguing into Grievous Angel's drummy ragga workout "Move Down Low VIP." The dark tribalism doesn't last long, as the captain takes a soft left into SBTRKT's "2020," a shuffling piece of abstracted garage with the sort of large, feel-good pads that whisper of summer breezes and 6 a.m. rooftop parties. Oneman seems to be fond of this sort of relaxing, airy sonic palette; the meat of the disc—from "Further," Lando Kal's gummy and romantic boom-tchak, through "Shawty VIP," a spacey shuffle from rising Finnish star Teeth—is a run through a lush undergrowth of womb-like kicks and positive vibes.
Throughout this journey, Oneman continually pilots his ship back and forth between choppier, harder waters and smooth, rich musical swells—it's a testament to his clever selecting and ace mixing skills that it all goes down smoother than that third goblet of sangria. In a scene often fixated on only delivering the newest and latest digital dubplates, Oneman has distinguished himself by championing cuts new and old, and here, he makes stone-cold classics like Nu-Birth's "Anytime" and the Steve Gurley remix of Bassment Jaxx's "Red Alert" sound positively fresh.
Standout tracks on this mix are those hybrids that splice the DNA of UK garage, dub techno, and NYC house to form new club organisms. Doubleheart's "Salsa" is as gloriously loopy as Bassment Jaxx's "Fly Life," featuring a late-'90s house siren whipped around a gyroscope then pinned down by industrial 2-step drums. Joy Orbison's "Ellipsis," which beautifully segues out of Claude Von Stroke's "Wut" remix, is a piece of galloping acid house cut into by a warm swathe of uplifting old-school pianos. The track's trademark sample (a soundbite from an interview with drum & bass godfathers Source Direct) is a British voice declaring "We just used to like... do our own thing." It's an apt rallying cry for this mix, one where Oneman pumps the bass low and flies the Union Jack high.
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