Artist: Darren Emerson
Title: Global Underground: 036 - Bogota
Label: Global Underground
By: Antonella Sirec | 9 February 2009
  1. Underworld - Mmm Skyscraper... I Love You
  2. Anja Schneider & Sebo K - Rancho Relaxo
  3. Jagged - Hello Kool Nice (Quarion Mix)
  4. Einzelkind - Out With A Bang
  5. Journey Man DJ - Shelley's
  6. Mooncat Feat Ferank - Hear What Was Said (Skylark Mix)
  7. Stimming & Einmusik - Magdalena
  8. Darren Emerson - Home
  9. Nikitin & Semikashev - Blown
  10. Pete Heller - Sabotage
  11. Kerri Chandler - Pong (Ben Klock Mix)
  12. Nikitin & Semikashev - Reflection Vector
  13. Nick Chacona - Mariacha
  14. John Selway & Vincenzo Ragone - Dream Stealer
  15. Maja - If You Love Me Tonight (Passarani Mix)

Darren Emerson "Global Underground: 036 - Bogota"Darren Emerson "Global Underground: 036 - Bogota"

Out Now on Global Underground

As 2009 swings into gear in terms of compilation releases, Global Underground follows up Nick Warren’s acclaimed Lima contribution with its latest installment, GU036 Bogotá, mixed by Darren Emerson. Returning to the GU fold after an absence of a number of years, the former Underworld member provides a mix that combines a glorious slice of dance music that will appeal to the house and techno heads alike.

The spacey sound scape of Underworld's “Mmm Skyscraper... I Love You” opens the first part of GU036 before quickly moving onto the lush yet techy grooves of Anja Schneider and Sebo K's “Rancho Relaxo” a tune that sets a harmonious foundation for this particular side of the mix. Up next is the Quarion Mix of “Hello Kool Nice” by Jagged which allows the feel of the mix to pick up in pace but still maintain a techy edge with a subtle dubby appeal.

The tempo continues on a slight upward direct with Einzelkind's “Out With A Bang”, which is much more direct with its beats and a prominent bounce in its groove. The piano riff in the middle of this particular track gives it quite an old school feel that's more then pleasing to the ear. Following on is Journey Man DJ with “Shelley's” that continues the old school feel with its dubbed out main riff and sampled vocal snippets but still retaining a very current edge tone to it.

Continuing on is the Skylark Mix of Mooncat Featuring Ferank's “Hear What Was Said”, which now introduces a rather dirty element into the mix. The pace of the mix continues at the same level but with this particular track, there's an almost growl-like texture now. This is continued with Stimming and Einmusik's “Magdalena” which is almost foreboding with its squelched melody.

That bouncy feel the was prevalent earlier makes a return with Darren Emerson's own production “Home”, a track that introduces a demure techno feel to the overall sound of the mix and for me, a real highlight in this mix thus far. Up next is “Blown” by Nikitin and Semikashev with its slightly stripped back feel in terms of melody but still maintaining that incline towards the techno direction of the mix. The spacey effects that hover over the track really makes this work in all the right places.

The acidic overtones of Pete Heller's “Sabotage” come into play next and add yet another element to this part of the mix. Subtle dubs and warped acid chords contributes to yet another highlight in the overall sound. The mix now swings towards a more house feel with the Ben Klock Mix of Kerri Chandler's “Pong”. The string laden melody is just superb and the groove of this tune is quite hypnotic. Gliding in smoothly is the deeper sounding “Reflection Vector”, which sees another track from the talented Nikitin and Semikashev.

Continuing on with those deeper house vibes is “Mariacha” by Nick Chacona with its stabs of subtle spacey effects, slight harmonic vocal snippets and an acidy warble hovering in the background. As we near the end of this part of GU036, the delectable “Dream Stealer” by John Selway and Vincenzo Ragone is introduced. This has such a shimmering darkness about it and the toned down tribal beat is an interesting facet to the overall sound of this mix. Bringing things to an end for this part is the Passarani Mix of Maja's “If You Love Me Tonight”which, for me, is another nod to that early 90's sound that was previously visited. The prominence of that dubby beat is a great way to end this mix.

The second part of GU036 Bogotá opens with the Funk D'Void Mix of Itamar Sagi's “One Million Oaks”, which is a great deep house number that has a gentle bass line drifting throughout its duration. Quite literally sliding into the mix next is the Argy 'Big Room Detroit' Mix of “Fortran” by Kerri Chandler. The hovering chords and teased melody contributes to the mix picking up in the tempo but only slightly.

Up next is another Darren Emerson production with “Crash Jack”, this time reworked by Jamie McHugh as an exclusive remix for this compilation. Quite bouncy in feel with its direct beat, the overlapping melodies and samples steer this towards a tech defined sound. The direction the mix has been taking so far has been very enjoyable but with the next track, I started to have some concern as to where things were heading. With the introduction of the Induceve Mix of “Dust” by Recloose Feating Joe Dukie, the downward turn in tempo as well as a key change to a degree, is quite distinct and the vocal in this tune doesn't help matters. It's not that this a bad track, it isn't. But from my perspective, it doesn't fit in with the sound of the compilation as a whole. Having said that, it's not a deal breaker and I can tolerate this odd inclusion.

Following on is Josh Wink's “Counter Clock 319” and it's almost like the previous track never happened as the delayed distortions of the melody and the opportune high hats would have fit in better as a follow up to “Crash Jack”. Picking things up perfectly is the head nodding “Black Bag Job 526” by Donnacha Costello with its sublime melody and dubbed bass. The synth that plays around within this particular track sounds like it's being pulled at all angles and as such it's quite hypnotic.

Things start to take on a somewhat dark route with the Handycraft Mix of “Lunar” by Jamie McHugh. It's all about that thumping bassline which almost gallops throughout the track. For me this is exactly what I want to hear right now and very much a highlight on this part of GU036. Keeping things on the same feel but with a slight key change is the Adam Beyer Mix of “Marionette” by Mathew Jonson. The subdued melody has a quiet intensity that allows it to sound quite menacing which makes this quite the head turner for me.

Spirit Catcher and Compuphonic's “Mastermind” quite literally slithers into the mix and it's at this point that a deep progressive feel is brought in. Still keeping things on a darker element, the sound now is more big room with a very distant nod towards a trance feel. It's all about that languid bass line! That cheeky progressive feel continues with the Mazi Dubstrumental Mix of “La Cocina” by Nosmo Vs Kris B and Ben Brown but here the melody is more distinct as is the tempo.

That progressive feel doesn't stay for long because with Darren Emerson and Jamie McHugh's “Impact” the mix moves straight back into techno territory. Thumping bass line, constant high hats, swooping synths, dramatic breakdown... I love it! This just begs to be cranked through bass heavy speakers. Keeping things on the same route but with a more dubbed out main melody is Joel Mull's “Viewpoint”. For me, this is as evocative as it is luxurious while still keeping things on an underground level. As the mix nears its end, the sumptuous strains of Joris Voorn's “Blank” take control and guide the last part of this compilation onto a more uplifting deep house plane. This is an absolute stunning piece of music and only adds to the reason why many think of this man as a true talent.

Emerson's latest contribution to the GU main series ends as it began with a track from his former band members from Underworld in the form of “Mmm Skyscraper... I Love You”. This is classic Underworld for me with its running bass lines, bleepy samples and Karl Hyde's easily recognizable vocals. A superb, as well as respectful, way of ending this compilation.

From an overall perspective, the first part of GU036 Bogotá is the instant standout of the two parts. The track selection and flow from one tune to the next is nearly perfect and as a whole sound, it’s one of the better GU mixes I’ve heard in recent years. While encompassing the sounds of house and techno, the subtle nod to the early 90’s is a sheer pleasure to hear and experience. While the second part falters very slightly in the early part, it more then makes up for this mis-step as the mix continues. From a technical perspective, the mixing is absolutely seamless in places but whether this was mixed manually or created using Protools and/or Ableton, it makes little difference to me. For a compilation, the end result is what counts and in this case, it’s the tunes that are showcased rather then the technicality of the compilation platform.

With this latest installment in the GU main series, Darren Emerson has created a highly enjoyable mix that will have the listener engaged from the very first listen. Easily fusing the sounds of house and techno, GU036 manages to get better with each successive play and as such is a refreshing addition to the GU main series. A definite highlight for the start of 2009.

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