The following has become fact: mixing records is not as important as making records; a resident DJ is less interesting than a guest DJ; creating a compilation isn't as worthy as creating an artist album. Craig Richards disagrees. Being totally committed to hunting exciting new music, to set against a personal, expansive collection, is important. Loathing travelling, turning down huge tours, and playing to a thousand people every weekend in London is interesting. And compilations? They show exactly who you are, what makes you different, so are made with care and intent. Craig removes the just-too-catchy tracks, the ones that may begin to nag you in a month or two. He records live, after planning each mix so it sits perfectly in place, and adds layers of effects and samples (in this case from telephone conversations with his dad). He pitches down the tempo slightly to make it less clubby and designs all of the artwork to make it more personal. This is his second solo mix CD following "Fabric 01" in November 2001. He's also made two other Tyrant albums with Lee Burridge.
"I never meant Tyrant to be just Lee and I. It's important to represent what we do as individuals, as for the most part we play separately. I am at Fabric every week and Lee travels a great deal. So it felt perfectly natural to work alone. "
CD1 is dancefloor re-creation, sixteen addictive, inventive tracks to get into your head and under your skin. Gone are peak-time highs and lights-down lows. This is laptops dancing: subtle, shape-shifting patterns over bright, precise percussion. Check metallic melodies, electric grooves, crystal chimes and strung-out loops. Hear kooky chords, lazy vocals, Latin hooks and backwards beats. There's echo and stutter, dub-drenched bass, cocaine rushes and ecstasy waves. Showcasing an exciting new breed of electronic artists, CD1 is a smooth, night-drive soundtrack of the freshest 4/4 around. Music to get into and get down to.
Craig's cut-up eclectic mix has its roots in radio. In the seventies he became a Peel devotee, waking in the night with headphone chord around his neck. Fifteen years later he passed time as a Night Watchman with Coldcut's seminal show on then-pirate station, Kiss. And until the station's closure last year, he fronted an experimental show for Internet broadcaster Groovetech. Selecting and programming as much as beat-matching, it's a tribute to the direct, personal, airwave experience and a fast, fresh throwback to Craig's earliest DJing encounters.
CD2 is headphone recreation; twenty-one cuts of abstract dance, made to provoke and built to last. It features offbeat stunners, downbeat slammers, spy film strings and low-slung loops. There's desktop hip hop, a trip through electro, paranoid percussion and crazed, shattered beats. Music to trip out and break down to.