Saturday, 3 December 2011
Review: Chris Cowie - Exposure II
I only listened to this because I was down to my last couple of free minutes on Spotify, and I've discovered that if you start a really long track with only a couple of minutes left, you can still hear the full track. Even if that track is an 80 minute continuous DJ mix compilation. Which this is. Yes, I really am that cheap. Although it turns out Spotify mysteriously gave me more minutes afterwards, so I listened to some more Chris Cowie (see next review).
I've sort-of been aware of Chris Cowie for years now. It's impossible not to be, given just how much fucking music he's made (we're talking literally hundreds of tracks across dozens of aliases), and I've known about his Hook label in passing. Hook was responsible for many a '90s trance classic, and so crops up on a lot of old tracklists. However, I recently noticed the entire back catalogue has appeared on Beatport and set about raiding it. Exposure II is a label-showcase for Hook from back in 2000. It doesn't have any of the famous Hook tracks on it (IE: anything by Transa or X-Cabs) and has more of a house/techno flavour, with tracks by 808 State and Frankie Bones cropping up. Hook may have been predominantly a trance label, but trance did actually originate from techno y'know, and Cowie kept that connection alive long after most trance DJs had completely forgotten it. I guess you could call the sound of this compilation tech-trance, but I've honestly never really figured out what tech-trance is exactly. A lot of these tracks are melodic and hypnotic, like trance, but have a very deep and thumping techno sound to them as well. To me, that's tech trance, okay?
This is a decent compilation. There's one track about 35 minutes in that melts my mind far more than the rest, but as it's an en bloc MP3 I can't tell one track from another, and can't be bothered to hunt out the track just to name-check it in this shitty review. So you'll have to take my word on this one. It's all very energetic and cheese-free, which was a difficult combination even back then. I can't say it really has too much structure or builds towards anything in particular. It's pretty much a fourth gear trance-out from start to finish, deep and driving. Good, but not great. Label showcases rarely are, unless the label in question is super-fucking-awesome. Hook was pretty awesome, but not quite awesome enough for a DJ to single-handedly construct an incredible DJ mix just from tracks released on it in 2000. And Chris Cowie isn't a fantastic DJ, to be fair. He always keeps the energy up and I think I'd have a great time at any of his parties, but he's not going to "take you on a journey" or deliver a truly classic set. He doesn't here, at any rate.
Genre: Tech-trance (?)
Stupid Arbitrary Rating: 7/10