VA: Fabriclive 65: DJ Hazard
Fabric Records

Is there a more divisive music genre than drum'n'bass? The mere mention of the label is enough to send detractors running full-speed in the opposite direction, while die-hards continue to fan the drum'n'bass flame long after naysayers have pronounced the style moribund, if not dead altogether. It's obvious where Scott Molloy stands on the issue: executed in one take, his DJ Hazard mix for Fabriclive is a predictably frenetic meltdown of fifty cuts (twelve of them DJ Hazard productions and much of it previously unreleased material by new producers) stitched together on the fly using two CDJs, a mixer, and, by Molloy's own admission, plenty of coffee.

The Birmingham-born and Aston-raised Molloy caught the drum'n'bass bug early and plied his trade by playing Birmingham clubs as DJ Hazard throughout the ‘90s before eventually releasing singles on DJ Hype's Ganja Records and True Playaz imprints. It's no surprise that Molloy's deep knowledge of the genre is evidenced by the adrenalin-charged mix. He sends it on its way with his own “Never The Same,” an anthemic overture that establishes a furious pitch that will rarely let up in the sixty-seven-minute set. Track changes happen at lightspeed, with most lasting little more than a minute. And though the 170 BPM tempo remains pretty much in place throughout and there's no shortage of lethal mayhem (Dirty Harry's “Watch Ya Teeth” one such example), Molloy's track selection is a noticeably varied one. Beyond drum'n'bass, the mix includes jungle episodes (Bass Brothers' “Mr Jungle”), and soulful vocalizing surfaces on a few tracks, too (a diva's wail twists Ray Keith's “Deeper Love” into memorable shape while Molloy does much the same in his “Do Without You” and “Foodfight VIP”). Sultry strings emerge during DJ Rowney's “Cheek of It” to expose the mix's sensual side, and Boosta & Atmos T's “Delinquent” is a bit laid-back and soulful, too. A smattering of ragga even surfaces via Annix's “Unnatural Element VIP.”

Moments of hilarity emerge during Tyke's “Vice Squad” in the voice samples that alternate with the rampaging beat flow (“I used to work the Vice Squad… You get numb… It's a pity”), and a hint of funk seeps into Decimal Bass's “Hypnotise” and Hazard's own “Time Tripping”; his “Ramblers,” by comparison, finds him riffing thunderously on dubstep. Elsewhere there's bass wobble aplenty and enough bass drops (Konichi's “Tools of the Trade” one example of many) and old gangster movie voice samples (e.g., P.A's “Iron Fingers”) to keep the drum'n'bass fanatic happy. Having said that, the mix is one that should satisfy genre devotees immensely, but it also would be hard to imagine it having much appeal to listeners outside the drum'n'bass camp.

October 2012