Jackmaster JackmasterFabriclive 57
The best DJ in the world right now is Jackmaster. There will be polls that say otherwise, that say David Guetta or some other superstar is number one, and there will definitely be loads of people who oppose to our statement. But if there were a tribunal that would accept “Fabriclive 57” as evidence, we would have the case sewn up. The first official recorded set by the Scottish DJ is a record so powerful, fresh and exciting that right now it’s hard to imagine a better mix CD will be released after this. Where other DJ mixes –and we include the podcasts floating around everywhere– fail in their attempts to be eclectic (or get halfway there), or simply stick to one style only, Jack Revill gives us 29 tracks in over 70 minutes joining dots that are hard to join, not conceptually, but technically (as in: mix-wise): there’s classic techno, acid, hardcore, wonky, post-dubstep, IDM and, at the end –and like Dave Clarke already did years ago on the “Electro Mix” of his first “World Service” (2001)–, is Radiohead’s “Idioteque”. And because of some other reasons, listening to a set by Jackmster, it’s inevitable to think about Dave Clarke ten years ago and more: Revill isn’t as technical and fast, nor does he use hard techno but he has the same cannibalistic instinct and the ability to transform old material into energetic proteins for the dancefloor, sounding very contemporary nonetheless.
His collection of 2010 mixtapes, delivered to websites like URB or the set of podcasts for the label Jackmaster is part of, Numbers from Glasgow, was already a warning for the non-specialised consumer –meaning the ones who haven’t heard him live, in a club– about the warrior spirit of our man. Young, but with intense curiosity, he’s been digging in the right crates: early nineties electro –Underground Resistance and Drexciya as totems–, the dawn of Detroit techno, the first Belgian and British hardcore, the booty continuum –mixed with hip-hop, filtered disco house and acid– and modern-day sounds, of which he himself is one of the stars, via Numbers. But nowhere and never is Jackmaster a revival DJ: it’s the energy, the vigorous feeling what he looks for – the fact that his mixes sound old school is just a fortunate coincidence. He’s a DJ who understands the needs of a full dancefloor and he gives it what it wants, whether it’s sounds from 1987 or 2009, and “Fabriclive 57” never sounds chaotic, despite skipping through time. From start to finish, Jackmaster never slows down; at most, he shifts gears to change the register –the interlude featuring “Fuse” (Hudson Mohawke) and “La Bomba” (Machinedrum) between two sections of hard house and booty with beefy material by DJ Funk, Fix and Thomas Bangalter, is astonishing– or to allow for a smooth and perfect transition. After all, Jackmaster is stimulating but never brutal.
But most of all, the brilliance of this mix lies in the sincerity and naturalness it transmits. The possibility to edit a recorded DJ set is often used to the benefit of the ego: artists who want to manufacture a visiting card to get gigs or show off their record collection. With Jackmaster, although both things are achieved because of the delivery and the brilliance of it, it does sound like he just wants to share an exciting experience, like when you discover a first-rate record and you need to share it with the world (read: your closest friends). So the set feels like a gift. Veteran listeners can recover classics like Inner City’s “Big Fun” –the Juan Atkins remix, who a little later appears with Model 500 and “Night Drive (Thru Babylon)”, techno’s fundamental track–, the acid-soul of Mr. Fingers on “The Sun Can’t Compare”, the hardcore cataclysm of Outlander ( “Vamp”, one of the gems from the R&S catalogue), one of the parts of AFX’s “Analord” saga ( “VBS.Redlof.B”) and a minute of the immortal UR anthem “Jupiter Jazz”. The less experienced listener will see a world previously unknown open up. And in both cases, nobody will come out of this trip –speakers at maximum volume or a good set of headphones, please– without having sweated like a pig. This is awesome.