The latest in a long line of globe-trotting celebrity DJs from the UK, Tayo spins regularly at some of London’s best known clubs, including Friction and Fabric, and tours around the world. With like-minded DJs Adam Freeland and Rennie Pilgrem (his partners at Friction), he pioneered breakbeat, an eclectic, often chaotic-seeming blend of dub reggae, hip-hop, drum’n'bass, and all things bass heavy. Tayo’s entry into the venerable Fabriclive DJ mix series follows an earlier mix album released on Dust II Dust Records entitled Planet Of The Breaks.
I don’t have a lot of experience with breakbeat, dubstep, or grime, though I’m a huge fan of reggae and hip-hop, so it was a pleasant surprise to hear the mix kick off with the fairly laid back dubby sounds of Tayo’s own “Dread Cowboy”, produced in collaboration with Acid Rockers Uptown, mixed with the heavier dubstep sound of “The Curse” by Loot and Pillage. After five minutes of dubbed out bliss, Tayo picks up the pace a bit, dropping the Deekline remix of “Step Back” by Ursula 1000 (an unusual choice, given that Ursula 1000 records for the Thievery Corporation’s more eclectic, less dance-oriented Eighteenth Street Lounge label), featuring vocals by Sista Widey. The mix is built around a dubby electro bassline that almost sounds like it was ripped from an old Kraftwerk track (to my ears, it sounds like nothing so much as “The Model”), setting the tone for the bass-heavy depths plumbed by the rest of the mix.
From there, we get a taste of baile funk from Tayo and Undersound (featuring Edu K) on the bangin’ “Putaria Toda Hora”, mixed directly into barely a minute of “Tote It” by Baltimore-based DJ Blaqstarr, through the ragga-esque “Blaze N Cook” by Stereotyp Meets Al’ Haca, and back into more baile funk on “Com Reispeito” from Buraka Som Sistema. But Tayo doesn’t really hit his groove until tracks 9 and 10, starting with the Bassbin Twins’ “Woppa”, a mix dominated by massive old-school drum breaks and incredibly deep, squelchy bass, which segues smoothly into the stomach-churning (in a good way) bass-driven melody of “Move Up (Club Mix)” by Si Begg.
The frenetic, electro-influenced “Open the Jowls” by Tipper keeps the tempos high and the bass heavy, and although it’s mixed into unremarkable tracks by Buckfunk 3000 and Benga, Tayo scores again with one of his own compositions, the dub-influenced “Dutty Bomb”, and the massive “Vicious Exit” by Marc Adamo. Next, we get some grime and dubstep, starting with Sarantis’s “More Than Money”, seamlessly mixed into “Lightning” by Skream, with Sarantis’s vocals floating over the top. Finally, the mix winds down a bit with three more heavily dub-influenced tracks: two by Digital Mystikz sandwiched around one by Rob Smith, of Smith & Mighty fame.
As I’ve said before, it’s hard to get a real feel for the impact a particular mix would have on the dancefloor of a packed club, especially with the style of music Tayo spins. Because it relies so heavily on drums and bass, it’s impossible to appreciate the full effect of the mix on a home stereo. That said, I like this mix quite a bit, partly because of the obvious influence of dub reggae, and partly because it simply doesn’t sound at all like the usual kind of funky house music I’ve been hearing so much of lately. Tayo is a talented DJ with obvious affection for the underground scene he promotes, and a well-developed ear for sonically interesting dance music.