Few artists can claim to represent whole genres of electronic music, what with records being released at a breakneck pace by anyone with a home computer and sound card. Yet when the phrase nu-skool breaks comes into conversation, all heads turn to Adam Freeland. Perhaps Freeland's domination of the sound has part to do with his early instigation of the style that melded the warping bass of jungle with crafty techno bleeps, all while slowing down the breakbeat to a manageable tempo. Or perhaps it's because so few artist have really gotten over to the general public, which might actually be a result of Freeland's and a few other's (Rennie Pilgrem, Meat Katie, and Tayo) dominance. It's a chicken-or-the-egg debate. But the fact is, out of the 16 cuts on Freeland's mix for Fabric, exactly half feature the involvement of Freeland himself and Evil 9, perhaps the most active artists on Freeland's Marine Parade label. Although, while the roster might seem limited, the variety of tunes is anything but. Opening with the fizzing indie rock of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club might be stretching the boundaries just for the sake of stretching them, but Freeland and Evil 9's own work covers a variety of sounds, from the shocking 4/4 Kompakt-esque atmosphere of "Hired Goons" and "F-Groove" to the slower groove of "Burn the Clock," the only traditional nu-skool sound comes from PFN's "Flow" and the incredibly brief "Xylophone" by Precision Cuts. The rest of the time, Freeland grabs from multiple bins, including the classic bleep sound of LFO, to his own attempt at his ancestral drum'n'bass, "Mindkiller." Such diversity is presumably something to strive for, although the mixing suffers as a result, usually segueing from one track to the next and missing out on the magical "third record" that can occur when a skilled DJ is on his game. It's made more frustrating by the fact that Freeland most likely could have blended several of these transitions if only he had applied himself. So while Freeland proves himself an excellent selector of tracks everyone should appreciate, he failed to go the extra mile to make this mix a stunner.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Joshua Glazer
feat: Evil Nine
feat: Bassbin Twins
feat: Radioactive Man