reviewed by Ben Hogwood
What’s the story?
Glasgow duo Silicone Soul have been running Darkroom Dubs for two decades now, which is a lifetime in house music – and it is great to report the long running series celebrating the achievements of the label is back for a fifth instalment. As with previous releases there is a mix from the duo, which is complemented by separate unmixed tracks and a number of bonus remixes.
What’s the music like?
The mix is compelling, and as good as anything Silicone Soul have put together in their time. It is ideally paced, moving surely through the gears and upping the intensity with each new track. The strong opening section hits a peak with Sigward’s remix of Id!r’s Monday, a smoky torchbearer that has long, held drone chords and a cutting bass. This segues nicely into the Shall Ocin remix of Silicone Soul’s own Farenheit 625, featuring Franklin Fuentes on some excellent vocals, and in turn this moves to a white hot cover of the Blancmange classic Living On The Ceiling from Skinnerbox.
Things turn darker and more acidic from here, through Dino Lenny’s Chained To A Ladder, but the sun soon reappears in the heat-flecked Undo track Acid Summer and Amount’s Kreuzberg. The more acidic direction is enhanced by two tracks from Justin Robertson’s Deadstock 33s, the second one – The Music Is Madness (To Those Who Cannot Hear It) – a particular treat.
With a little more acid in the mix, it’s good to find warmth again with Undo’s Tempesta, nocturnal atmospherics from Mariano Mellino’s Mubarak, and then something completely different in the slower but sharply defined electro beats of Am$trad Billionaire’s Outer Limits (Part 1). Wrapping up the selection are two more hot weather winners, Eduardo De Le Calle’s Breatharian and the DJs Pareja remix of Alejandro Paz & Local Suicide’s quite creepy but effective Splish Splash.
The beat patterns of the mix are largely four to the floor, but as the mix progresses there is greater room for manoeuvre, especially as the keyboard lines take on strobe-like patterns.
Does it all work?
It does, especially if you listen to the mix the whole way through without swerving. Only then will you get the best sense of the pacing of these tracks, which is pretty much nailed down to perfection.
Is it recommended?
Yes – whether you have followed the Darkroom Dubs story from the early days or whether you are just pitching in to their newest chapter. Silicone Soul clearly retain their appetite for new house music, while staying true to the principles that have made their label a solid and assuring presence in British house music and beyond.