In our eyes Erol Alkan, despite being a well respected DJ and producer, hasn’t been elevated to the status of ‘UK Music Icon’ that he deserves. Everyone is aware of his ability behind the decks and his work with Boys Noize but his contributions to music go so much further than that. Trash, his legendary London party was responsible for getting a slew of bands to play in England for the first time, including Justice. He produced both Late Of The Pier’s ‘Fantasy Black Channel’ and Mystery Jets’ ’21′ both of which are highly rated indie albums. He collaborated with Richard Norris on the excellent and psychedelic ‘Beyond The Wizard’s Sleeve’ remix album. And now he runs his own record label, Phantasy, where he nurtures and releases such individual talents as Daniel Avery and Connan Mockasin. For nearly twenty years he’s stayed musically relevant, in fact, he’s often so far ahead of the curve that he’s not credited with helping foster a movement when it finally arrives. On top of all this, Bugged Out have asked him to record his second Bugged Out/In mix for them, no-one else has had that honour so far. So, whilst we’re waiting for his knighthood we can enjoy another double dose of Erol’s unparalleled music knowledge.
For full track listing: (Click Here)
The Bugged Out mix, as the name suggests, has a club-orientated lilt. It lightly traces Erol’s recent sets with a group of understated yet driving tracks. Rather than sharing a genre, the tracks tend to have overlapping characteristics. It could all be lazily labelled ‘techno’ but the unifying features are the four-four beat, chattering hat patterns and acid riffs. Erol has delved deep into his past to pull up some overlooked and underplayed selections. Smith N Hack’s opener ‘To Our Disco Friends’ is getting on for 10 years old whilst Ron Hardy’s ‘Sensation’ was released three decades ago and yet they sit smoothly alongside modern works from Scuba and Gesaffelstein. If you follow Erol over any of the social networks you won’t be surprised to see picks from artists he’s recently been championing like Factory Floor and KiNK. To round the mix off there’s two edits from the man himself, including his, by turns, dreamy and pounding remix of Connan Mockasin’s ‘Forever Dolphin Love’.
Bugged In is the pipe and slippers mix and edges in front as the more original of the two. Without the constraints of BPM to adhere to Erol can zig zag through time and tempo as frantically as he likes. Not that you’d sense that as the extremely sedate sounds float languorously out of your speakers. Deftly avoiding the pitfalls of a chill out album, Bugged In is a collection of supremely beautiful and relaxing pieces of music. The playlist reads like a history lesson and a shopping list at the same time, blending old with new, introducing and re-introducing or just entertaining as it’s supposed to.
The chances are, if you’ve already got a favoured ‘going out’ album, Bugged Out is unlikely to replace it. It’s just slightly too refined for that, however, with the quality on offer and depth and scope of the tracklist it could easily become your mix of choice for any other situation. Bugged In is a whole different kettle of fish, if you put music on to relax from now until the end of time and the first track you hear isn’t Jan Hammer Group’s ‘Don’t You Know’ then it’s only because Erol has brought out a third ‘Bugged Out/In’ CD. Mixes don’t often get described as timeless due, in part, to their disposable nature but considering the time, effort and care that must have gone into making a collection of such excellence and integrity it’s easy to see how this could be.
Out Now on iK7 Records: Erol Alkan – Another Bugged Out Mix