Artist: John Digweed
Title: Gridlock
Label: Renaissance Recordings
By: Andrew Rowland | 20 November 2007
  • A: Stereo Mix
  • B: Stripped Mix

John Digweed "Gridlock"

Out Now on Renaissance Recordings

It’s great to see John and Nick back together in the studio again! It’s been two years since ‘Santiago’ and at times it can seem something of an eternity between releases from this now legendary duo. As Bedrock they have over the years become synonymous with releases of the very highest quality. The most notable ‘Heaven Sent’, enjoying yet another emphatic revival in the form of a Greg Downey remix last year.

When work began on ‘Gridlock’ earlier this year, the original intention was for it to be the next single release. All this changed however, when the end result clocked in at a mind blowing 25 minutes! The idea was then hit upon by John to include it as a bonus disc on the release of the next in his series of mixes Transitions Vol.3, released through Renaissance now. Select premiers of the track to friends followed and buzzing from their reactions, the duo quickly returned back to the studio to produce club friendly mixes which now form this release.

Up first, the main stereo club mix. Taking the atmospheric route, opening with lush string pads, there’s a slightly anthemic feel, but in a clever understated way. There’s an echoing of the duo’s trademark sound, but it’s undergone some slight refinement. The result is an incorporation of today’s more experimental glitch sounds and some more altogether darker twists. A growling staccato bass line drives the track along with the groove, always the integral element for John and Nick in their tracks. An ethereal vocal effect teases its way in and out of the mix and some nice Rhodes piano chords appear to give a softer shading. There’s plenty of crazy synth modulation to keep the momentum flowing and this take us through to around six minutes. Here the strings return in all their glory and these help to produce a euphoric ending to close out the track.

The stripped down mix in contrast takes the more direct approach. Again driven by the bass and the groove. Crazy effects and synth modulation are very much the order of the day. A fractured melody, pads and piano give a supporting role. Together this all makes for a pretty dark and brooding mix.

This review wouldn’t feel complete without mentioning the full-extended mix version. As I said earlier this clocks in at a breathe taking 25 minutes in length! Not since the heady days of 1995/96 and epic house have tracks ventured into this territory! Back then, a track was labelled self indulgent if it reached the 14-minute mark! All I can say is this simply has to be heard to be believed and for me it’s the essential mix out of the three!

Whether this proves to be a rare studio outing for John and Nick only time will tell. There’s a lot to maintain with John’s relentless Djing schedule and successful worldwide Transitions radio show and pod cast. Also, the return of the Bedrock label with the release of Guy J’s ‘Save Me’ imminent. ‘Gridlock’ has certainly wet the appetite for more, so let hope we don’t have to wait nearly as long again for a follow up!

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