Waxfactor: Sci-Fu

Rhythm Incursions: Up The Anti

UK producer Waxfactor (and co-host of the legendary Rhythm Incursions radio show) orients his leftfield hip-hop travelogue Sci-Fu around a theme of classic 50s sci-fi dramas (most prominently heard in the voice samples of “Stay Grounded” and “Beat Meld”). Though the concept links the tracks throughout his debut disc, it's the dusted breaks that prove most striking. Check out, for instance, the dope crunch of “Down For The Count” which not only features the sound of John Bonham's counting (not the Zep skinsmith's drumming) but also showcases Waxfactor's considerable deck skills, something displayed even more potently on “Adverse Camber” (where he scratches alongside 2tall) and “SRB Remix” (where furious cuts are traded with Mista Ed). Those wanting funky club bangers need look no further than the 'Luna Landa version' of “Reggaenomics” (which also finds room for a tasty bit of dancehall), “A Jar Ajar,” and the booming “Beyond The Sun.” Elsewhere, Waxfactor forcefully accentuates the album's smooth flow and rich textures on laid-back head-nodders like “Blast On Call” and “One For The Bear” while the churning “Contact” casts a rare shadow on the mix.

Waxfactor partners with fellow DJ Mr. Trick under the Rhythm Incursions guise (also the name of the duo's London-based radio show which, begun in 2002, now airs in five countries and boasts a weekly audience of about 300,000 listeners) for Up The Anti. One year in the making, the hour-long set assembles 130 unidentified tracks (five exclusive remixes) into a party mix that never lets up. Like the genre-crossing show itself, the disc ranges widely, opening with the infectious funk of Waxfactor's “Reggaenomics” before moving on to slamming boom-bap, soul-funk, dancehall, and Jungle. Gritty breaks, grimey sub-bass, furious scratching, and voice samples abound, as Waxfactor and Mr. Trick show themselves to be crate diggers of the most serious kind (even dusting off the DJ sample from The Clash's 1981 Sandinista). The set gradually builds to an epic hip-hop crunch, stops for a stutter-funk episode, and then detours in its last third towards the mad clatter of Jungle, scratching lunacy, and dancehall struts before expiring with a slamming growl.

April 2006