Alex Attias

The Selector Series, Vol. 1

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What better way of initiating a series of broken-beat mix albums than with Alex Attias, a West London transplant who made the move from his home base of Switzerland to be closer to his musical heart? A producer (Bel-Air Project, Catalyst, Mustang), label-head (Visions Inc), and DJ, Attias delivers a nearly definitive statement of the broken-beat scene with this hour-long mix. More a way of lassoing a now-international community of producers who share a similar approach to making music -- roughly: drum'n'bass,jazz-funk/fusion, afro-beat, hip-hop, contemporary R&B, deep house, or any combination thereof -- broken-beat has thus far thrived more in the 12" format than in full-length albums. Here, Attias strings together a dozen tracks without challenging the attention span of the listener; a handful of the inclusions might fail to excite as part of a traditional album, but like the best DJs, Attias is capable of bringing them to life within the context of a mix. So this is one of the best full-length documents of the scene one is likely to hear. Each track is given a few minutes to do its duty. The initial- and latter-third of Selector Series, Vol. 1 are stocked with song-based vocal tracks; Domu's "Save It" and the Volcov mix of SK Radicals' "On the Street" highlight the early part of the album with laid-back but upbeat vibes. The middle is largely instrumental and keeps the feet active with a parade of disparate rhythmic tricks; there's everything from complex polyrhythms and snapping basslines to deliciously hypnotic, spacious house constructs (Stephane Attias is the culprit in the last case, his "Distant Planet" forming the mix's high point). West London-based Agent K and American producers Osunlade and Peven Everett help draw the spectacular set to a close with soul-drenched tracks.

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