Artist: Hiratzka & Kazell
Title: Reaction
Label: Alternative Route
By: Nick Bower | 20 December 2003
  • A: Original Mix
  • B: Future Funk Mix

Hiratzka & Kazell "Reaction"

Out Now on Alternative Route

Sticking with their current theme, the Alternative Route label again delivers a production which sees a head-on clash of two creative minds. This time round, the 15th release on Alternative Route gives us 'Reaction'. The label has firmly stuck to a manifesto of showcasing material which encompasses a myriad of varying styles and sounds, 'Reaction' is no exception. From start to finish 2003 has been a particularly exciting year for Alternative Route and this release is an exciting and fitting way to see one year out and welcome a fresh year in.

'Reaction' is the brainchild of two American producers/DJs - Mike Hiratzka and Kevin Bazell (AKA 'Kazell'). Kazell, dubbed the 'hottest thing in warm up' by the LA Times has, since the early 90's, been instrumental in forming the underground dance scene in the West Coast area into what it is today. With a residencies at Liquified and the legendary Spundae club, slots alongside such luminaries as Sasha, Digweed, Deep Dish and Sander Kleinenberg and international DJ tours all under his belt, this guy is by no means a slouch!

Similarly, Hiratzka has a wealth of experience behind him too. With over 15 years of combined DJ and studio time racked up and sets played at major venues such as 1015 Folsom, Circus, Space and both mix CD and solo work, his forward-thinking blend of progressive house, breaks and techno has won him an army of loyal fans - and rightly so. Combined, the talents of Hiratzka & Kazell forge a strong musical partnership.

Stomping proudly into play with a swift and deep 4/4 bear, the Original mix of 'Reaction' throws in snappy percussion, deep squidgy synth noises and a brooding bassline riff. Think 'funky progressive with a dash of tech house' and you're halfway there. Generally this concoction could make for a fairly mediocre tune, however its Hiratzka & Kazell's use of random stereo phased FX, stabby laser shot style synth sounds and bassline squelches which just take the track to a completely different level - and it works to devastating effect. These haphazard and atmospheric elements keep the track hugely interesting from start to finish and right on track. There's never a dull moment to be found in this one! A slightly oscillated and rich bassline drops in and out from time to time, as the track just seems to morph in a very organic way, from one stage to another. Along the way the track is stripped down to its bare bones, echoed synth noises are thrown in which unexpectedly fly overhead and stuttered FX skip in and out of the mix. In actual fact its rather hard to explain how well the whole track strings together, much better that you just pick up a copy and listen for yourself to appreciate it!

The 'Future Funk Mix' delves into an altogether more dirtier, deeper and darker realm to give a grittier and more driving spin on the track. This remix perfectly complements the Original Mix and whilst not drastically changing the arrangement it does offer a whole new perspective on the track. Random clips of male vocal, bucket-loads more spacial FX, a mammoth chugging bassline and a gorgeously melodic and spine-tingling breakdown all add up a mix that is short of nothing its got - it basically has it all. If this doesn't make you want to move your feet then I suggest you check your pulse, you could possibly be dead.

To conclude, 'Reaction' is nothing less than a ball of energy which simply crosses musical boundaries in an effortless and natural way. Both mixes are hugely enjoyable and finely produced. Seek and ye shall be rewarded, if not entirely hooked after your first listen.

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