Rating: 8 / Format: 2xCD / Label: BBE
In 2004, Pépé Bradock remixed Candi Staton’s ‘Do Your Duty’ for Honest Jon’s. Looping the original’s "I get out of bed…" refrain to the point of abstraction and strapping it to a martial drum track, ridiculously heavy sub-bass and arcade game FX, the result wasn’t just good, it was – and remains – one of the greatest remixes of all time. You can understand my confusion and disappointment, then, that ‘Do Your Duty’ is absent from this whopping 2xCD retrospective of Bradock’s best remix work. It’s kind of like having a best of Sonic Youth without ‘Teenage Riot’. Just doesn’t make any sense.
Bradock, in case you were wondering, has been making breathtakingly innovative dance music since the early 90s. His recent material has been particularly strong, with 12"s like ‘Rhapsody In Pain’ and ‘Intriguing Feathered Creature’ managing to keep dancefloors riveted even as they subvert and expand the very language of house. It’s hard to pinpoint the Frenchman’s style, but suffice to say it’s deeply jazz-inspired, is built out of untold tonnes of micro-samples, and altogether hinges on his superhuman editing skills.
Even sans Candi, Confiote De Bits is an impressive collection. Two of the best tracks on here are mixes of Iz & Diz, the glitch-funk bomb ‘Mouth’ and the burbling bleep-jazz of ‘Love Vibe’; you can in these tunes how massively Bradock has influenced, say, DJ Koze. His take on ‘Saucy Precog’ predates the chopped disco of Soundstream, and on Block 16’s ‘Morning Sun’ he marries the syncopation of Mood II Swing to the teched-out tribal rhythms of Henrik Schwarz. Hell, he even manages to make Zero 7 sound good on his rolling ‘WTF Hppnd’ mix of ‘Today’. There are darker moments too: see how Bradock revels in the unhinged acid of Pete Namlook’s ‘Subharmonic Atoms’.
Confiote De Bits is perhaps excessive in length: I dare say a more judiciously compiled single CD could have done the job just as well, but it’s nice to have all these fine productions in one place. Bradock’s uncommon musicality and sense of mischief resounds in every note and every pocket of space; if you’ve ever wondered why he enjoys such hallowed status in the house community, you will no longer after hearing this.
Randy St Germain