phrase “too busy” does not seem to be in Wesley Pentz’s vocabulary.
Whether Pentz — best known as producer/deejay Diplo — is remixing
countless artists (Le Tigre, Gwen Stefani, Ray Charles), producing a
hit record for his Sri Lankan main squeeze M.I.A. (lucky bastard),
tracking down rapper Maceo for The Fader, or shelling
out for extra bandwidth after his Hollertronix message board punked out
due to a leaked Kevin Federline track, he always seems to have room on
his plate for more.
With such an impressive resume, it’s no wonder the London club Fabric tapped Diplo to spin the twenty-fourth installment in the FabricLive mix series, which has featured other top-tier acts such as Death in Vegas, Jacques Lu Cont and James Lavelle. FabricLive 24 (recorded live, whereas Fabric’s other series, simply called Fabric,
is recorded in the studio), finds Diplo deep in the bass-tastic sounds
of Miami on which this Southern-bred hip-hop head was raised. And he
follows enough electro tangents and themes that maintain the funk and
undeniably danceable flow of the year’s strongest deejay mix.
absolutely kills with his opening track, a layering of the vocals from
youngin’ duo Nina Sky’s soulful Destiny Child-ish “Turnin’ Me On” over
Plantlife’s “Love 4 The World (Why They Gotta Hate?)” and moves quickly
to a brief retro theme with Yazoo’s 1982 single “Don’t Go.” Debbie
classic “When I Hear Music” slides in, followed by Freestyle’s “Don’t
Stop the Rock” to act as a tongue-in-cheek preface before transitioning
later into electro tones with a sick trilogy of tracks from Aphex Twin,
Cajmere and Solid Groove.
first half of the mix works more to prep listeners’ ears for a longer
segment of Latin-tinged funk and deep bass beats. It shows Diplo
breaking out a few lesser known artists rather than amping the party
with recognizable cuts. The section features a fantastic pair of baile
funk tracks from Gaiola Das Popozudas and a memorable yodel-hop spot
from MC Joe before M.I.A. drops into say hello over a sleepy reworking
of “Bucky Done Gun.”
the mix Diplo pulls from his usual bag of tricks, spinning the
Kraftwerkian synthetic scales of Cybotron’s “Clear” — the ol’ Missy
Elliott fake out — and every deejay’s favorite standby, Le Tigre’s
“Deceptacon.” But even with some predictable minutes, Diplo is not
without his surprises. He mixes a grime track into the Cure’s “Love
Song” and chooses to end the damn record with a slightly sped-up
version of Cat Power’s “Free” — not exactly booty-shaking music but an
brisk pace is interrupted twice when Ludacris’s “What’s Your Fantasy”
and OutKast’s “B.O.B.” sit on the decks longer than necessary.
Four-plus minutes of André and Big Boi spitting spastic is excessive
amidst shorter snippets, but Diplo deserves the breather. After all, he
probably finished another remix before mixing in the next track.
Prefix review: John Digweed [Fabric 20] by Dominic Umile