When a man considered, by many, to be the best sequencer in the world, and a true guru of EDM, releases a DJ mix, expect it to be of only the highest possible quality.
The high priest of the Church Of Bass, Toronto born, San Fran resident, ILL.GATES consistently releases some of the freshest low frequency heavy tracks in existence, in between seemingly constant touring around the globe. Formerly known as THE PHAT CONDUCTOR, he’s been in the BREAKBEAT game for quite some time. His productions are always on the forefront of underground EDM and, as such, their sound changes constantly. Something ill.Gates excels at is versatility.
This one is all about the mighty REMIX. A selection of his own remixes, his originals remixed by other artists, and remixes by friends, colleagues, and other favourite producers. I have a feeling the word, “remix” is gonna come up a lot in this review. Ha! Aside from the theme, this tape seems to focus on lyric heavy GRIME and TRAP, blended beyond perfection, and all quite complimentary to the GLITCH-STEP style that ill.Gates has become revered for.
01 ill.GATES / I’m Eel (Acapella)
02 Sibot / Magnet Jam (ill.GATES Edit)
03 Mimosa / Beast (ill.GATES Edit)
04 Masia One / In Di Streets (feat. Vybz Machine, Sabotawj) (ill.GATES & Meesha Remix Acapella)
05 Black Market Pharmacy / Plasma
06 Masia One / Grinder (ill.GATES Remix Acapella)
07 Die Antwoord / Fok Julle Naaiers (ill.GATES Remix)
08 Calvin Harris, Dillon Francis / Here 2 China (feat. Dizzee Rascal)
09 ill.GATES, Opiuo, Vent / TrILLogy
10 ill.GATES / Otoro (feat. Dash) (Acapella)
11 ill.GATES, Meesha / Irma Vep (feat. Masia One) (Sub Swara Remix Drums Only)
12 Tinie Tempah / Pass Out (ill.GATES Remix)
13 Die Antwoord / Fish Paste (ill.GATES Remix)
14 ill.GATES, Meesha / Irma Vep (feat. Masia One) (Sub Swara Remix Drums Only)
15 Eprom / 64 Bytes The Dust (ill.GATES, Meesha, Mat The Alien Remix)
16 Eprom vs. Foreign Beggars, Noisia / 64 Bytes The Contact (DJ Irk Mashup)
17 Feed Me / Pink Lady
18 ill.GATES / Pick It Up (feat. Bakaman, Masia One) (Acapella)
19 Masia One / Warrior’s Tongue (Rex Riot Remix)
20 Missy Elliot, Method Man, Ludacris / Gravel Pit Gossip (Soulmind Edit)
21 B.O.B. / Out Of My Mind (feat. Nicki Minaj) (Clark Kent Remix)
22 Foreign Beggars / Crep Hype (MRK1 Remix)
23 Hood Internet / These Things Are Nice (Jay Fay Remix)
HIGH POINTS: ill.Gates is one of the most respected artists in the Bass music scene, if not the entire EDM industry, as a whole, so I was already expecting this tape to contain a complex roster of edgy, memorable, and anthemic selections, blended flawlessly, in a variety of different tempos, and styles. No surprises there. And yet, I still managed to be shocked by just how good the mixing is. This tape is very heavily Hip-Hop influenced, and in a Rap mix, you expect it to be obvious where one song ends and another begins. Despite the constantly changing vocalists, ill.Gates has still somehow managed to make this mixtape flow so well that you just get lost in it, as songs blend in and out of eachother with such expertly crafted subtlety that the switch often plays through unnoticed. How the hell???
LOW POINTS: I’m gonna get really picky, here. It would be wrong to say that this tape has any kind of “flaw”, or to even suggest that there’s room for improvement. What I am gonna offer is more of a suggestion, rather than a criticism, that might… possibly… have made this mix an even more enjoyable listen. Back when DJing came with certain standards and practices, it was considered a faux pas to mix 2 tracks, in progression, by the same artist or from the same label. The justification of the rule was that it’s the DJs job, essentially, to showcase a variety of different labels and artists, arranged in a complimentary order. If the DJ is going to play a bunch of songs from the same artist/label, than we might as well just be listening to an EP of that artist/label’s releases, making the DJ obsolete. With an importance placed on variety, it becomes illogical to mix together songs by the same artist. Most producers have a distinct style, which carries throughout their body of work. The result is that all of their productions kind of sound the same. In this case, ofcourse they blend well together. The DJ isn’t contributing any creativity in finding common elements between 2 different compositions. Ultimately, it’s just considered half-assed. Now, this rule does not apply when a producer is playing a set made up predominately of their own music, which is the case here. Also, I’m sure ill.Gates isn’t concerned with showcasing his talents, as a DJ. He’s already renowned in that department. However, I do notice that the final 5 tracks, in the mix, don’t involve him, while most of the preceding songs do. You can hear the variety just explode towards the end of this mix, and it must be because we are no longer hearing the predominance of one producer. In this light, perhaps this tape would have been an even more enjoyable journey if those 5 tracks were weaved in between the Ill.Gates compositions, instead of being left for the end. Just maybe. That’s all.
Despite my own hearsay about what could have been, I think this is the most technically perfect mix I have reviewed to date.
Not a bad way to wrap up year 3, huh?