The next time somebody says “Young people nowadays are just a bunch of self-entitled do-nothings that think they don’t have to work at anything while everything should be given to them” point them toward A-Trak. Born in 1982, the kid won an international DJ competition at 15. He’s the only person to have won 5 DJ World Championships. While still a teenager he developed a notation system for scratching. At age 22 he joined Kanye West as West’s live performance DJ. He has done production work for Lupe Fiasco among others. In the spring of this year he released two DJ mix CDs, both different and both good.
One of those mixes, Fabriclive 45, was so hot it took over my computer while I was trying to write a review. Infinity+1 isn’t as hot as Fabriclive 45 but it’s still good. Both mixes illustrate A-Trak’s familiarity with the worlds of hip-hop and club-oriented dance music. Of the two, Infinity+1 is the more hip-hop influenced while Fabriclive 45 is more of a straight-up club mix. The generally more sedate tempos of hip-hop may be the reason why Infinity+1 comes across as the less driving of the two mixes. Infinity+1 is also the more consistent mix as it lacks the buzz-kill track that brings Fabriclive 45 to its knees part way through the set.
The only point of connection between the two mixes is A-Traks inclusion of his own “Say Whoa” on both sets. ZZ opens with A-Trak’s version while Infinity+1 includes a remix by DJ Spinna. It takes a good degree of confidence to take the chance that somebody might show you up with a remix of one of your own tracks. Especially somebody who can bring it like DJ Spinna. No worries. Both versions work on their own terms.
The closely timed releases of Infinity+1 and Fabriclive 45 highlight how well A-Trak operates with both hip-hop and house music. Very few DJs could have pulled this off as well as A-Trak has. The two sets also illustrate how adept he is at drawing smooth connections between the two types of music. A-Trak also shows a remarkable subtlety of touch in bridging to dance music from a predominantly hip-hop base on Infinity+1 while doing precisely the opposite on Fabriclive 45.
Both Fabriclive 45 and Infinity+1 are more than worth a listen. If you tend more toward dance music, start with Fabriclive 45; more toward hip-hop, start with Infinity+1. In either case each mix can open the ears of listeners who enjoy one kind of music to the pleasures of a different kind of music and that is a noteworthy achievement in and of itself.
A-Trak’s remix of MSTRCRFT (Feat. N.O.R.E.)’s “Bounce”
Okay, so I downloaded A-Trak’s Fabriclive.45 mix in WAV format. Twenty-five tracks mashed up by A-Trak, looked like it could be pretty good. Launched it in my music player and before I knew what was happening there was a party going on in my computer. I tried to write this review while the mix was playing but the fucking letters kept jumping around the screen and making new words. “We hear the bass and we say woah”, “BASS! (woah, that was Bootsy), “DO IT!”, “You know it’s gonna be alright – be alright.” “Get down – unh”. WTF??!!??? This is impossible.
Figured, fuck it, I’ll play a game. Write the review later. Had some of that recent DLC for Mass Effect 2 I hadn’t tried. Check that out. Loaded the game and there’s Shepard rolling with that blue-skinned alien chick. This can’t be happening. Well, Bioware’s cool right? Maybe they got something goin’ with Fabric so you get this cool Easter Egg if you run the game and the mix at the same time. Yeah, that’s gotta be it.
Heard that the Rise of the Godslayer expansion had turned Age of Conan from a disaster into an MMO worth playing so I thought I’d check that out. You’ve got to be kidding me. Conan? Waving his hands in the air and shakin’ his ass like a fuck toy? “I see you baby . . .” Dude dances like an elephant and you don’t even want to think about him trying to do that LeBron robot thing.
Then some fool in the mix starts goin’ on about his dick. Daniel Woodis doing “I’m the Ish”. The mix drops dead like a corpse fell out of an airplane and landed in the middle of the dancefloor. Splat. Conan looks embarrassed and tears a Pictish warrior apart with his bare hands. By Crom! “I’m the Ish” killed the mix. wtf was A-Trak thinking?
But wait. The computer don’t like it either and the words stopped jumping around the screen. I can get the review written. Yeah, okay, I’ll describe what just happened and then list the good tracks. Okay, the mix starts out with . . . oh, shit. Here it comes again. Alexis Latrobe’s “Aurora”. There go the words on the screen. “Get Down”.
I open up the panel on my computer and my motherboard is a motherfucker. All those little gizmos jumping around waving their little wires. “Do it!”
Fuck this review shit. You want a party? Check it out.
Opening segment from Fabriclive.45 which begins with A-Trak’s version of his own “Say Whoa”. Compare with DJ Spinna’s remix on A-Trak’s mix CD Infinity+1