Artist: John Digweed & Phil Thompson
Title: Bedrock: Layered Sounds
Label: Bedrock Records
By: Simon Jones | 2 February 2004
  1. Herbal Infusion - The Hunter (Steiger Predator Dub)
  2. Sean Q6 - The Other Course
  3. Shmuel Flash - Chilling Moments (Ambient Mix)
  4. Pole Folder & CP - Dust (Ambient Mix)
  5. Bedrock - Emerald
  6. Fotunator & Montresor - The Operator
  7. Steiger - Postcards From The Edge (Ambient Mix 1)
  8. Tone Depth - Rumblefish (5AM Reprise)
  9. Mainline - Innerspace
  10. Eclectica - O Spectra (Deep Space Organisms Mix)
  11. Evolution feat Jayn Hanna - Walking On Fire (Ambient Mix)
  12. Salome & Ives - Mystic Roya
  13. Bedrock - Beautiful Strange

John Digweed & Phil Thompson "Bedrock: Layered Sounds"John Digweed & Phil Thompson "Bedrock: Layered Sounds"

Out Now on Bedrock Records

With the landmark 50th release of the Bedrock Records imprint having come and gone in December 2003, it's easy to forget some of the many tracks and remixes that have in one way or another shaped or defined the evolving direction of the progressive scene. Whilst other labels may have run longer, not many can hold that claim, and what better time to review Bedrock: The Story So Far than with this latest compilation, 'Layered Sounds'. Compiled by the Bedrock residents themselves, John Digweed takes us on downtempo excursion through the annals of the labels lifespan, whilst Phil Thompson mixes together a selection of some of the tracks that have rocked Heaven and many other clubs to it's core, in his own unique style, ensuring that this compilation typifies Bedrock in every way it possibly can.

The drifting groove and spacious percussion of Herbal Infusion's 'The Hunter', stripped back to it's most basic roots by Steiger is a dramatic start to this voyage of sound that transcends the past five years of the Bedrock label along it's way. Melting into the hypnotic chords and melodies of Sean Q6's 'The Other Course' you find yourself drawn in as bass effects bubble to the surface, grooving along at a subtle pace as the unforgettable haunting melody of 'Chilling Moments' shimmers in. Waves of sound wash over a low sub bass groove as the vocal is looped over and over, soon climaxing in a powerful Eastern solo that lives up to it's namesake and sends a shiver to even the deepest of nerves in your body.

Calm is restored as the hazy beats of Pole Folder & CP's 'Dust' twinkle underneath an atmospheric void that expands and evolves in a shape shifting style that gradually changes the mood of this cinematic soundtrack that John Digweed compiles. You may not be on a dancefloor at 3am being owned by his dark and twisted grooves, but he controls your mood here in a different yet equally as well executed way. The synths of 'Emerald' now become harmonious harp strings, whilst Fotunator and Montresor's 'The Operator' sees the dreamy 'Imagine' reworked in a jazzy trip hop style. The added vocal of 'I'm the Operator' is perhaps Digweed's sub conscious way of letting you know who's in control here, and that isn't too far from the truth.

The 'Pack Ice Mix' of Steiger's 'Postcards From The Edge is a beautiful classic piece, incidental music for the best story never captured on film, it's captivating piano and wistful vocal sound tracking the transition from one moment in time to another, moving to the rugged terrain of Tone Depth's 'Rumblefish'. As the vocal asks 'Where You Wanna Go?', it perhaps makes you wonder, but by the time you may have decided John has already moved us to another plain, through 'Innerspace' and into deeper space with tracks and remixes by Mainline and Deep Space Organisms respectively. The evocative beauty of Evolution's 'Walking On Fire', here in it's ambient form continues the spacey vibe with it's sleek synths washing over a smoky beat pattern and straight into the dreamy melodic strings of Salome & Ives 'Mystic Roya'. This is indeed beautiful, and yet strange, as the eerie synths soon become the deeper chords of Bedrock's track of the same name, panning effects and melodies ending this journey through sound, space and time. It may not be 2001, but this is John Digweed's Bedrock Odyssey.

Disc Two sees Phil Thompson bring together some of the label's more recent tracks in a mix that like the first disc sways from one end of the spectrum to another. The familiar Bedrock associates such as Steve Porter and Chris Fortier are in attendance here, but a year ago who would have imagined that Ursula Rucker, King Britt or Gregory Shiff would be featured on the label. A significant point indeed, as the last few months have seen Bedrock's sound shift into new territory, just like Phil's smooth and reclined warm up sets contrast John's dark and moody peak time sets at Heaven each month.

The first few tracks sees Phil mix his way through the house grooves of such tracks as Morgan Page & Gregory Shiff's 'All I Know', providing his own chunky bass led rework of Tom Mangan's 'Chutney' as he begins to build the energy up, layer by layer, first building up and then going deeper with 'Tonite' by Randall Jones, with the 'Chris Fortier Mix' of Fortunator & Montresor's 'Imagine' acting as the perfect bridge to the more upbeat second half of the disc. When you look at these names, and the others who have been involved up to this point such as King Britt and Brancaccio & Aisher, it is without a doubt some of the finest talent in the house scene right now.

The big basslines are still prevalent as one of Steve Porter's mixes of the Amber track 'Anyway' slowly slides in, subtle melodies and strings injecting incredible momentum and energy into the mix as the old skool classic 'The Hunter' takes the energy level even higher reaching a pinnacle when the first stabs of Christian Cambas' 80s inspired anthem 'It Scares Me' drop in. Rumbling bass, a killer melody hook and a soaring vocal line is all that this track is comprised of, but it hits the spot every time, leading off nicely into the final section of the disc where the key changing rhythms of Steiger's 'Postcard From The Edge' glide right along, it's piano line and vocal refrain once again standing out on this disc, with Charlie May's analogue nod to Bedrock's 'Emerald' dropping the mood off on the end slowly and subtly, bringing the mix to an end with a reflective opening at the end.

Not just your usual retrospective compilation. John Digweed's disc takes us through the past few years, revisiting some of the defining moments of the label in a way we've never heard them before, with one moment of grandeur surpassing another. Phil on the other hand displays his skills for layering moods and sounds building from the smooth house grooves through to the more peak time progressive cuts that are typically associated with the Bedrock nights at Heaven. An end to end collection of classics, layered one after the after. Sounds that have not only laid the foundations for the label, but the scene as a whole at various points in the last four years.

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