by Ben Hogwood
What’s the story?
Bedrock are an enterprising label, constantly rethinking how best to present their albums and compilations – and they always take a classy approach that puts the artist and the music first.
Quattro III is no exception. Put simply, it is four mixes from label head John Digweed that differ in tempo, beats and style – and as a substantial bonus, Ancestral Communication, a full artist album from DJ Miles Atmospheric.
The four mixes are given simple titles – Soundscape, Tempo, Breaks and Redux – and they can be listened to consecutively or as single units.
The brightly coloured package presents more than 50 exclusives, the result of Digweed’s inexhaustible search for new music and talent.
What’s the music like?
The mix titles are a good guide to how Quatro III proceeds, and over the four hours of John Digweed’s mixed material there is plenty to enjoy, however you slice and dice it.
Soundscape operates in an almost timeless void, performing an intensely calming meditation as it sets out a spacious sound picture. Wide-open canvases from the likes of DNA presents Charlie May, Circulation, Luke Chable and the excellent Davide Squillace present dreamy backdrops but also regenerate as part of a cleansing listening experience.
Tempo moves up to walking pace and starts to gain a strong sense of forward movement, realised throuh tracks like Dino Lenny’s Rocking To The Rhythm and Robert Babicz’s Afterlife, where the music is let off the leash. There are some lovely weightless textures here, though the increased percussion brings the music firmly towards the dancefloor, ending with the superb Thermal Drive from Speakwave.
Breaks presents what initially feels like a straightforward but strong mix, but as it progresses so there is more emotion introduced. The smoky vocal behind the Lexer Breaks mix of Quivver’s Nothin New To Feel is keenly felt, while Circulation’s Fruju has a breakdown to dive into. The music veers towards the minimal after this before the rolling beats gather towards a powerful finish.
Redux brings together a fine set of remixes, and really gets a shift on with the superb David Morales reworking of Pig & Dan’s Make You Go Higher. The inclusion of two tracks each from Captain Mustache and Aubrey Fry works a treat, Scan 7’s piano doodles matching the vocal of the latter’s Catch Me rather nicely.
As if the mixes weren’t enough, Miles Atmospheric’s album is a considerable bonus. There is an immediate temperature increase in these notes, fulfilling its brief from Digweed as a long player with ‘some quality warm deep ethereal techno that is a breath of fresh air’. Presented in a continuous mix of just over an hour, it includes the lush Tranquility, the fat bass lead of Mysterious Return To Forever then two extended treats in A Quiet Place For Distant Souls and the quicker Destination Lyra, showing how to make minimal source material go a very long way indeed.
Does it all work?
It does, because of the hours of thought and preparation that have gone into making the album. John Digweed’s famously meticulous working ethic comes up trumps again, but not at the expense of raw feeling.
Is it recommended?
With enthusiasm. Bedrock fans will lap it up – but each of the five musical canvases here works extremely well in the home listening environment too. Add the top quality presentation to the mix, whether on vinyl, CD or download, and Quattro III becomes a hugely desirable package.