"It's for people who are not too happy, for people who are in touch with the evil side of themselves...so all the happy motherfuckers out there: Don't by this CD." That is how Sharam Tayebi, half of the Washington, D.C.-based duo Deep Dish, has publicly described their latest trance offering, Renaissance Ibiza.
Tayebi isn't exaggerating. There are no feel-good dance floor anthems here, no shiny-happy mixes to be sampled in trendy automobile commercials. Instead, Renaissance Ibiza drops the listener down a dark rabbit hole and into a world dominated by sinister bass beats and bizarre riddles masquerading as lyrics. (Example: "Everything is possible for the man in the plastic suit.")
Highlights from disc one of this double CD compilation include a gorgeous remix of Sven Vath's "Barbarella", which boasts a minutes-long build-up whose pay-off plays like the background music for a science-fiction fashion show. The track leads into the CD's other stand-out, "The Flying Song", by PQM featuring Cica. This track was tailored for late night/early morning sessions on the dance floor especially with its reliance on synth-echoes guaranteed to make you feel as if you are, well, "flying".
Disc two features a notable pedigree of dance floor DJs and producers, including BT, Moby and Danny Tenaglia. But Timo Maas, the German producer and remixer, who recently released his own double album, is the undeniable force that sets the tone for the second CD. Three of the first four selections are Maas productions which blend the soulful sensibility of house with the futuristic bubbles of electronica.
Look for a surprisingly danceable version of Moby's biggest hit, "Porcelain" on the compilations second CD, as well as a hilarious track by Green Velvet entitled "Flash". Remixed by Tenaglia, the track features what sounds like an African-American drag queen spouting off lines like "There is balloon filled with Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas!)" and "Cameras!Ready!Set! Flash!".
Tracks to fast-forward through include a lack-luster remix of Amber's "Sexual", which is appropriately named the "Deep Dish Cheez Whiz Dub", and a Hex Hector remix of Everything But the Girl's "Temperamental". Normally a remixing genius, Hector falters by weighing the song down with, among other things, over-amplified bass.
For the casual dance music lover, whose CD collection is packed full of CD singles featuring dance remixes, Renaissance Ibiza will not satisfy you. The Deep Dish that you are craving is the one who has provided remix work for everyone from Tori Amos to Tina Turner. If, on the other hand, you want a sampling of some of the most innovative dance music that isn't afraid to take risks, this "Dish" is for you.