Damian Lazarus + Matthew Styles: Get Lost
Crosstown Rebels

Crosstown Rebels heads Damien Lazarus and Matthew Styles throw enough left curves into their latest double-disc mix release to retain interest, despite the collection's exhausting 150-minute running time. Characterized as 'new-school minimalism,' the set's 29 tracks were compiled by the duo over a six-month stretch, with the two giving the first disc the stronger dance emphasis. The release is full of surprises, the first of which is the mood of its opener: powered by a shotgun snare, Mlle.Caro & Franck Garcia's melancholic “Far Away” offers an almost mournful entry point, the set deviating from standard practice by starting with a restrained vocal piece. What most distinguishes the release, however, is the imaginative left-field track selection: the opening half, for example, includes cuts by Monolake (the acidy stomper “Plumbicon,” Polygon_Cities' best track), The Knife (the wiry funk-house of Troy Pierce's “Silent Shout” mix), and DJ Koze (the bleepy chug of “Pattern Wirtschaft”), and features the bruising electro of Prosumer's “Blei,” and Someone Else's driving remix of Butane's “Sound of Digidown,” a superb sampling of the found sound aesthetic; Solieb's writhing “Circus Maximus” is also memorable, as is Ost & Kjex's clanging stormer “How Not To Be A Biscuit.” In short, in place of conventional house and techno grooves, the duo opts for chopped and bleepy experimentalism without losing the club vibe. The mixers generally take a back seat to the underground tunes though the artful transition from the Butane cut to Monolake's deserves mention.

The second half is less satisfying, to some degree because, sans the club vibe, the sheer volume of music starts to prove wearying but also, cumulatively, disc two's material impresses less. The streaming lurch of Naum's “Feln,” MC-dusted electro-hop of Anaerobic Robots' “Darwin or Lose,” and John Tejada's sleek acid-house squealer “Paranoia” stand out, and it's good to find Fourtet's “A Joy” included (a shame, though, it's not the original instead of Battles' fractured remix) but cracks appear with the appearance of weaker cuts like Position Normal's “Jimmy Had Jane” and Berghiem 34's “Take My Soul.” Lazarus and Styles reinvigorate the set with Moonstarr's aptly-named “Detroit,” its fluctuating tempo an analogue of post-party disorientation, before down-tempo serenades bring the mix to a too drawn-out close. Despite Get Lost's less solid second half, there's still more than enough quality material on hand to recommend the release.

July 2006