The Lab compilation brand has reached its fourth installment, and it’s prolific UK DJ/producer Paul Woolford who is taking over mixing duties from Loco Dice, Steve Bug and Seth Troxler respectively. With the three preceding editions being fingerlickin’ good, it would be an understatement to say that the stakes were set high for Wooly to secure both the label as the series’ high quality output. As is the case with each edition in the The Lab range, this edition consists of two discs on which the composer is given pretty much carte blanche to lay down a diverse, multi-genre mix.
Disc 1 opens smoothly with the dreamy Blue Tomorrows byn Rafael Anton Isirarri before taking off to disco and experimental (deep-)house territories. What’s especially noteworthy is that Paul has refrained from obvious picks, instead digging up lesser known tracks you’re unlikely to find on any other compilation soon. Examples include Mr. Beatnick’s wonderful, violin-driven deep house track Syntheses, the melodic sparkle that is Daniel Wang’s Berlin Sunrise (Die Dammerung) and Hunee pumping A Study In Wild. Things get progressively filthier from track 10, with names such as Roman Fluegel, Zakes Bantwini, and Skudge delivering a batch of underground house/dub bombs.
Disc 2 marks the straight-on house part of this release. Super Collider’s bass-heavy house funker Darn (Cold Way ‘O Lovin) opens things in a very exciting way, after which Paul throws in several more tunes rigged with explosive basslines and at moments incredibly deep grooves. There’s the saw-tooth pulses of Trevino’s Fred for instance (a super hot track, btw), the stunning space techno track Mirage Of The Night Sky by Yasua Sato and the massive DJ Harvey remix of Canyons’ See Blind Through. The second half of the mix contains a heavy load of Detroit-ish house and techno, inw which especially the acid dirtiness of the oldschool sounding Tweakonomics by Trevino and the psycho arps of Dan Curtin’s Fly By Night stand out.
Our verdict: Yay, we say. Paul has done an excellent job in picking and mixing nearly only winner tracks, carving out a mix in the process that’s as adventurous as it is colorful. Gently shifting from deep and disco-y cuts to menacing butt-slammers, The Label 4 is not only a worthy addition to the range, but also Paul’s best mix to date.
Rating: 8.3/10 Label: The Lab Release date: out now
CD 2 1. Super Collider – Darn (Cold Way O’ Lovin’) 2. STL – High Again 3. Fabio Gianelli – Grenouille 4. Trevino – Fred 5. Yasua Sato – Mirage Of The Night Sky 6. Terrence Dixon – Return Of The Speaker People (Kausto’s Sudden Aphasia Mix) 7. Château Flight – Baltringue 8. Canyons – See Blind Through (DJ Harvey Mix) 9. Gemini – Movement 10. Billy Shane – Fach 11. NB Funky – Riddim Box 12. Trevino – Tweakonomics 13. Dan Curtin – Fly By Night 14. Achterbahn D’Amour – Trance Me Up (Skudge Mix) 15. Aphex Twin – XMD5a