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The Secret Art Of Science

The Secret Art Of Science
(Breakbeat Science)

I think that I stopped listening to drum and bass mix CDs about the time that I stopped listening to trance mix CDs. While the trance market seemed to fade off into a direction where releases kept sounding more and more like one another (and how could they help it when many of the DJs spun the same damn tracks), while drum and bass seemed to start going the route of who could pound the hardest beats the longest. It was fun at first, but when you realized that you had 60 minutes per discs of absolutely cranium pounding, it got a little bit old.

Mr. Burkeman (aka DB) knows this. He's been spinning drum and bass for almost ten years now and although he lives on this side of the Atlantic, he's been as influencial on the genre as he could be. He's founded a club in NYC, as well as starting up the smi:)e communications label and opening the first drum and bass store outside the UK. The Secret Art Of Science also marks the first release on his new label Breakbeat Science Recordings, and features 18 tracks (14 of which have never been available on CD and 3 of which are completely exclusive) and almost 80 minutes of music.

One of the interesting things about the mix is that it doesn't contain all the latest hits. Instead, it's more of an overview of the more melodic side of drum and bass from 1993 until 2001 (how many other mix discs have tracks that span 8 years in time?). It starts off with the chiming and very pretty "Small Adventure" from Nautilus and quickly jumps out of the gate and into some more recognizable tracks. Even when including bigger name tracks like "Before Today" by Everything But The Girl and "Brown Paper Bag" by Roni Size, DB serves up remixes that offer another side of the crowd-pleasing tracks (and in doing so includes even more artists, as the mixes are done by Adam F and Photek respectively).

Most drum and bass labels make at least some appearence on the mix, including Good Looking (with Blame's "Overhead Projections" and LTJ Bukem's oldie, but goodie of "Music"), Moving Shadow ("Retro" by the E-Z Rollers and "Secret Life" by Omni Trio), and XL Recordings (Jonny L's "This Time" and "Two Of Us"). The excellent and playful "Chicks" by Klute even makes an appearence. If you're into the mellower side of drum and bass (the disc reminds me in part of the freeflowing Counterforce mix that came out on FFRR about 8 years ago), this is probably one of the better mixes that I've heard. The main problem with chilled-out drum and bass mixes that don't throw in a couple pounding tracks for good measure is that they tend to sound a bit repetitive in places because the beat structures and tempos are about the same, and that happens a bit in places on this mix as well. Overall, though, DB manages to keep things fairly fresh on the disc, and even tiptoes through a bit of drum and bass history in the process.

Rating: 7.25