President of City Rockers and compiler of the 'City Rockers Futurism' and 'Futurism 2' compilations, Damian Lazarus is back in 2004 on his new Crosstown Rebels label with a new compilation series called 'Rebel Futurism.'
Session One in this new series starts out strong in Lazarus' attempt in a post-electro world, as he elevates his style to include elements of tech-house, dub and pop references.
Lazarus is able to pull it off in this day and age because of how hard he works (DJ'ing, making compilations, collaborations, scouting new talent), and because he picks from an international pool of talent, as he travels the world, or when he is home at his own London club Slash and Burn. Like his previous mixes, Damian Lazarus has created an addictive mix which steps up the sound quality without losing track of his audience.
After a brief intro which includes a sample from David Bowie's Rebel, Rebel, Kiki and Silversurfer start things off with The Velvet Underground influenced Warlocks' tune Shake The Dope Out, where the riff is transplanted into a bass heavy mix and a shaking great romp. The end result is like a cowbell riding, dubbed out version of The Jesus & Mary Chain.
Tiga is back with a Fax label influence on the TGV Dub version of Burning Down, a song which combines propulsive, percolating synth bass and Tiga's hushed but tense vocals to create the tension of the terrorism age or the club age. This moves sweetly into the serious questioning of Chicks on Speed and Dave Clarke's Disgraceland, a song about what is pop music and what is cliche, questioning what exactly is so controversial about pop music. Chicks on Speed have always been arty decadence and at their best in collaborations. Here they are augmented by Silversurfer's Welcome to Berlin (Crosstown Rebels' own) which helps up the tension in a Tiga techno mode and remove some busyness. (Chicks on Speed can also be heard on a couple tracks on Dave Clarke's Devil's Advocate - including the original version of Disgraceland.
WMF Record's Jahcoozi gives us Fish (the Team Natascha Remix) mellowing the mix out momentarily, only to bring the compilation into some unexpected and twisted female vocal led house pop. Phonique's Where the Party's At adds the tech-house photon to the mix for those interested in partying. Sascha Funke's Bravo was the most hard edged track from his debut album, and one of my favorites from that album, and it's used here to (theoretically) extend this mix into the wee hours of the night. The compilation ends with the twisted psych house soul of Avril's take on Chicago house maven Lil Louis' French Kiss, and maybe the sun is now rising.
"[Crosstown Rebels] is going to make the next level of this music that is well known as electro, but essentially it’s not that - it’s something very different. Crosstown Rebels present a new imprint dedicated to the late night mentalists and slightly tougher headz amongst you" - Damian Lazarus.