Being given a Paul Woolford mix CD, to me, is all the excuse I need to get in my car, drive fast and play it LOUD. And, yeah, to do techno fist pumps in the process. Even if you don't have a car, put on headphones, get on a bus, and fist pump. It's rewarding, I promise. Just ignore the passers by, staring at you - they're not privy to the tunes that Paul Woolford is pumping through your headphones. Seriously. I do this for no other DJ (except for Richie Hawtin. Closer to the edit... yew!). It's made easier when the man's put vast amounts of effort into a mix that kicks off with this season's uber-coolische balearic/deep/jazzy vibes on the first CD and gets heavy on the flip with classic detroit and chicago jams mixed with the best of today's tech house - as the liner notes reveal, Woolford begged and pleaded with all the artists involved to get access to stems (the building blocks of the music) so that he could re-edit and re-structure the music in a manner that pleased him. Which is really, really good for us. Why? Because it's otherworldly in how he takes classic tracks and rebuilds them to fit and flow, to suit his tastes, and to make a more impactful experience for the listener.
The mix starts deep (how else?), panning legendary renaissance back catalogue jams from the likes of Josh Wink and I:Cube, and god, it's really lovely - before everything kicks into gear with a massive jam called 'The Jazzer', which gets the Russ Gabriel remix treatment here - and it's smooth, smooth like Chez Damier or Chateau Flight, and it gets you really in the mood. I couldn't help but feel moved. It's something else. Loads of delay (a Woolford trademark since that tune, um, what was it.. Erotic Discourse? Yeah, that one. Maybe you remember it. Youtube it if you don't.) and a piano line that my german friend would call an uhrworm. It sticks in your head, and gets you ready for what's next - some real jackin' house from the likes of Tensnake (one of my favourites), an acid-house oddity from the early 90's called 'Don't Take It', followed by a Mathias Tanzmann circoloco early afternoon special with the requisite soulful samples, some Joy Orbison (for that essential hat-tip to dubstep) and a new Bobby Peru jam. I got to thinking that this is definitely the CD you'd put on at the start of an evening before going out. It's a really slow burner... but so warm and melodic, and kind of uplifting, in that deep house way.
If CD1 was an early evening warm-up, then the second disc of Renaissance presents Paul Woolford: Platform is the main game. Kicking off with his own remix of Morgan Geist (of Metro Area, personal favourites of mine) and firing through that delay in quick time back through some Quarion (As retouched by Deetron for maximum gnarz), acid house and from there, into a world that's unmistakably Woolford's trademark sound. Deep, rolling, dubby, but at the same time, furious and driving. There's nothing like it. Strap in and rave. Detroit legend Robert Hood is featured alongside Kevin Gorman and Derrick Carter: back to basics classics re-rubbed for a new era. It's very special, and, you know, sorry if that sounds facetious or ridden with hyperbole, but... it's really damn cool. Some really choice tunes from Kink (not the legendary sydney club night from the arthouse, plug plug, ha) and finishing with some classic techno from The Suburban Knights. Total peak-time lunacy. Fist pumps.
So that's it. Paul Woolford has taken the run-of-the-mill mix cd, which I think today is really a bit of an anachronism, and dragged it, kicking and screaming, into the now. His re-construction of classic house, techno and the best of today's deep house truly NEEDS to be heard to be believed. You can't download these tunes and mix it yourself. This is the sound of the future, the past, and now - it's the sound of a master at work.