Sebastian Mullaert: WaWuWe
Mule Electronic

The title first: Wa means circle and peace in Japanese, Wu is a Buddhist term alluding to the nonexistence of independent existence and thus the interconnection of everything, and We obviously reinforces the concept of connections between people. As such, this large-scale mix compilation from Sebastian Mullaert (who partners with Marcus Henriksson in Swedish outfit Minilogue) obviously is designed to bring people together rather than split them apart, in a club setting at least. Building the set with clear-minded deliberation, he opts for atmospheric homogeneity in the first half and then goes for the hard-grooving jugular during the second—one for welcoming the day and the other for ending it, as it were.

The first half awakens from slumber with early morning nature sounds (e.g., birds chirping and hooting) slowly coming into focus during Mullaert's own “Lyssna Då Björkarna Viskar!” (“Listen to the birch trees whisper!”), the music's unhurried development generally representative of the opening disc's languorous vibe. A chugging groove eventually moves to the forefront, and the set never looks back from that moment on. For eighty oft-mellow minutes, the DJ weaves tracks by Minilogue, The Mole, Black Jazz Consortium, Koss, Darko Esser, and others into a silken flow by draping warm chords, chiming melodies, and dubby echo effects over a solid pulse that manages to be simultaneously relaxed and insistent. The set is anything but a snooze as Mullaert brings out its funkier side at the half-hour mark and then plunges deeply into the material's swinging house and pumping techno sides as the second half gets underway. Mention must be made of Gunnar Jonsson's beautiful closing piece, “Massegerutin 1” whose Rhodes sprinkles brings the half to a dreamy close.

In many ways, the body-shaking second disc is the first's polar opposite. Mixed live on turntables and peak-time in spirit, part two immediately springs to life with Âme's electrified choral-and-tribal remix of The Machine's “Fuse” and Joe Claussell's hand-percussion workout “Je Ka Jo (Drums of Passion).” Oleg Poliakov redirects the mix back to a clubbier context with the deliciously pumping “Midnight Vultures” whereupon Jerome Sydenham and Dennis Ferrer keep the fire stoked with “Jero.” The mix's rhythm-heavy focus returns with Marlon D's “Trust The Drum” and Samuel L Session's charging “101 Staccato (Beats).” Elsewhere, traces of acid seep into Minilogue's “Intermediate State,” Cobblestone Jazz get slinky with “Chance Dub,” and Mullaert keeps the energy level up in his own stormer “Voices Around The Fire” before the set gradually cools down with chilled episodes by Cio D'or (“Goldbrokat”) and XDB (“My Secret Garden”). Mugging in an animal outfit on the album cover, Mullaert might look wacky, but WaWuWe itself is no protracted exercise in tomfoolery.

November 2010