Artist: Quivver
Title: Controlled Substance
Label: Boz Boz Recordings
By: Antonella Sirec | 16 July 2006
  1. Quivver - Intro
  2. Maurice Bakes - Dub Electric
  3. Crazy Penis - Cruising (Nu-Frequency Edit)
  4. Habersham & Kazell Present Paradise Rockers - One Thing (Quivver Mix)
  5. Quivver - Not Givin Up (Quivver 'Dried Out' Mix)
  6. Quivver - Not Givin Up (Quivver Dirty Dub)
  7. Dylan Rhymes & Ricky Stone - Shanghai Taxi (Deepgroove Mix)
  8. Beckers - Colour Me Blind (Phatjak Mix)
  9. Trent Cantrelle & Freddy Be - You Don't Have To Cry
  10. Jaytech - Genesis
  11. Audio Magnetics Vs Quivver - Digital Music (Hamel Mix)
  12. PMT - Necromancer

Quivver "Controlled Substance"Quivver "Controlled Substance"

Out Now on Boz Boz Recordings

With a career spanning fifteen years, there's no doubt that John "Quivver" Graham, as a producer and remixer, has been a major force in the dance music scene. Responsible for some of the most sublime releases over the years whether under his well known Quivver moniker or as part of Tilt, these have included 'Everything's Not You' and the indisputable classic “Space Manoeuvres” to name but a few. However it wasn’t until 2001 that he made his mix compilation debut with the acclaimed 'Transport 5' release. Fast forward to 2006 and with a heavy touring and producing schedule behind him, Quivver has finally found time to release his second compilation in the form of 'Controlled Substance'. And after such a long wait, he's managed to created something that not only stays on the progressive tip but captures his many club sets.

'Controlled Substance' opens with Quivver's own intro, a series of static sounds that give off a warped, radio tuned feel that leads perfectly into the first track of the compilation that being the dark break beats of Maurice Bakes' 'Dub Electric'. A very squalid, urban sound that works well as an opening tune with the mix moving smoothly into the Nu-Frequency Edit of Crazy Penis' 'Cruising'. Still capturing that break beat sound however the mix has now deviated up in tempo and set the foundations for the overall feel of this compilation quite firmly.

The mix swings onto a more upbeat segment with Quivver's own remix of Habersham & Kazell's Paradise Rockers' 'One Thing' which is an infectious tune due in part to the rhythmical bass that drives the track but also snippets of jazzy sounding samples. Combine that with the simple but beautiful melodies, it's one hell of a track that you can't help moving to when it comes into play. Up next is new material by Quivver himself with his Dried Out Mix of his new tune 'Not Givin Up'. A nice full-bodied vocal number, deep and rumbling in texture brought on by not only the padded drums but because of the overlying melody, the tune builds into quite an epic number. While initially not a fan of the vocal, after listening to this countless times now, it's grown on me quite a lot. But (and there's always a 'but'), it's all about Quivver's Dirty Dub remix of this track which comes up next.

I've lost count how many times I've replayed the Dirty Dub remix of 'Not Givin Up' simply because I can't get enough of it. Whether at home or sitting at my desk at work with ipod firmly intact or running around town, it's been on constant repeat. It's all about that dark drum pattern and the driving bass combined with the atmospheric breakdown that builds and allows the track to explode into something that's outstanding to my ears. It's fantastic to say the least and one of the best tunes I’ve heard in a long. To say it hits all the right notes with me is an understatement. I honestly wish there were more music of this calibre around. It's badly needed.

Following on quite nicely is the Deepgroove Mix of Dylan Rhymes & Ricky Stone's 'Shanghai Taxi' which is a nice jumpy number that utilises its underlying percussions and twangy bass very effectively to help create a very dancefloor friendly tune. This is another track that builds with its intricate chords and escalates into a very strong, confident tune. With that melody still in mind, the dirty bass of the Phatjak Mix of 'Colour Me Blind' by Beckers begins to come in and the mix starts to take on more of that rich epic feel. The combination of high hats, dirty bass and the ample melody make this another outstanding tune that just stomps along nicely. This screams to be heard on a bass friendly sound system. A proper stomping track that would murder any dancefloor!

Coming up next is Trent Cantrelle & Freddy Be's 'You Don't Have To Cry'. While following on with the same feel, this particular tune isn't as ambitious as the previous track. While I do like the actual music which is quite heavy in terms of drums, the vocals grate on me somewhat. I can't quite put my finger on why it does but it just does. The track itself has a great jumping beat that combines effectively with the various chords and melodies but once that vocal comes in, I feel like throwing myself out of the nearest window. A dub version of this would have been better suited. Oh well….

It's at this point that I start to get worried about the remainder of the mix. And it's nothing to do with the track selection in the slightest. I question the mixing that occurs between 'You Don't Have To Cry' and Jaytech's 'Genesis'. It just sounds so wrong! Why oh why would you slam straight into something as brilliant as Jaytech's tune. And that's exactly how it sounds because there’s no beat matching, just the use of the cross fader to bring the tune in quite suddenly. Which is unfortunate, as 'Genesis' is a different style of tune that could have benefited from being introduced into the mix more cautiously. The melody's quite ethereal in feel, which is beautifully underlined by the building drums and bass and it keeps building majestically with every layer of sound. It's another favourite of mine on this compilation but should have been treated with care both on a technical and musical basis.

As we near the end, we start to hear more of an electro tinged sound come into play. The Hamel mix of Audio Magnetics Vs Quivver's 'Digital Music' uses that electro sound quite effectively in helping to close out the mix and it's a sound I'm pleased wasn’t overly emphasised in the overall feel of 'Controlled Substance'. If anything it's a much deeper yet melodic sound that helps ease the mix into the final track, that being PMT's 'Necromancer'. As with the opening track, 'Necromancer' has that urban edge to its sound and as such ties in the beginning and the ending of this compilation quite concisely.

While the first half of the mix runs smoothly, I feel that the second half was somewhat rushed thereby affecting the overall flow of 'Controlled Substance'. There are a number of huge tunes that could have benefited from being spread out a little more with lesser-known numbers in between so as to achieve a more dramatic point. At just a little over an hour, I felt the mix was far too short because it left me wanting more which in the end is a very good thing. Tracks such as Jaytech's 'Genesis' should have been used in such a way as to heighten the plateau of the mix but unfortunately wasn't. While I realise it's not all about technically on point mixes, sometimes, as in this instance, it helps to achieve the general sound successfully. However, something like Trent Cantrelle & Freddy Be's 'You Don't Have To Cry' should have been missed altogether because it killed the atmosphere that had slowly been building up until that point. However, that's just a minor point that bugged me.

Nevertheless, I'm thoroughly enjoying this compilation and can not stop listening to it. The tunes (bar one) are the type that I like to listen to not only at home but in a club environment. As such, it's had quite a hypnotic affect to say the least. Kudos to John Graham for taking a primarily progressive stand with this instead of jumping on the minimal/electro bandwagon as have many of his colleagues. With 'Controlled Substance', he's put together a mix that rumbles from start to finish and just makes you want to dance regardless of where you are. This is definitely something that's missing from a lot of current releases. I'm all for new, forward thinking music instead of trying to repeat what’s already been done but if the music doesn’t make you dance then what’s the point of it even being called "dance" music. I just hope we don't have to wait another five years for a mix from John Graham.

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