archive review originally posted on the losing today site c. 2007 …..
JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF BRIXTON
(12 – Apostles)
If memory serves me right this little beauty scraped into the recent One Music Festive 50 that BBC Radio 1 broadcast over Xmas which in itself was an achievement given that it had only been officially out for a few days. ‘Journey to the Centre of Brixton’ is, it has to be said, a right royal corking release. Those most casual of visitors to these pages may well remember us falling over ourselves with the ensembles last release ‘Princess’ where the moulding of baggy tuneage of yore (Paris Angels, World of Twist et al) was teased and ticked into a superbly summer loving soundtrack. This time the mood is measured considerably, less immediate than ‘Princess’ though nonetheless equally engaging and something which lovers of the Broadway Project may well cock a celebratory ear to. ‘Journey to the Centre of Brixton’ is marked by it’s underlying tension, darkly spun and richly executed albeit with an unmistakeable brooding edge at it’s core, 5 mixes set across various formats – enough in fact to legitimately consider starting up a new record collection run for and featuring the first use that we can recall of London underground tube samples that I’ve heard since the Jam’s ‘Down in the Tube station at Midnight’ way back nearly 30 years ago now. First up the studio version – a rough and hectic conglomeration of jostling broken beats and night air cooled bleakly chilled atmospherics, intensely fraught and sparsely dislocated to the feel. If anything ‘Journey to the Centre of Brixton’ owes much to the mid 90’s Bristol scene amid the congested spectacle the superbly sensual vocal of Karen Sheridan hovers spectrally maintaining an illusion of steely calm that ultimately you feel loses something in translation listened to through headphones and would be best served out in a spacious club environment in order to achieve it full damage like potential. Better equipped for the task is the ’live version’, making far better use of the space it colours in all the greyed out bits that where seemingly present on the ’studio’ cut adding a sense of completeness and vibrancy that was lacking before by smoothing the edges and sharply pitching the intensity level downwards. Also featured here are three additional remixes from some of the industry’s most in demand names. The Spartan mix provided for by Chicago’s Oh Astro cleverly assumes a different perspective to the proceedings that injects an air of loneliness over a shuffling moving train dynamic all the time layered succulently as though transmitting from the ether shards of unworldly grace driven like symphonic overtures. Bullet Proof Sounds adopt a tonally more psychedelically enhanced edge to coat the mix with a heavy load bearing hypnotic head tripping effect yet for me personally it’s the Ollo mix that shines brightest. Combining an after dark down tempo vibe with glacially dipped softly trod crunchy beats, Ollo ushers a sense of sophistication and torch light majesty to the chassis that strangely enough fans of d_rradio may find something of a curious treat, stripping the original of it’s hustle and bustle and equipping into its place a delicately lilting and contemplative subtle cosmic sound-scape. Very classy stuff all said and done.