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  DJ Icey - For the Love of the Beat
Rating: 4 out of 5 Rating: 4 out of 5 Rating: 4 out of 5 Rating: 4 out of 5

by Susan Tomasco

For The Love Of The Beat With the perfect blend of import and domestic tracks, breakbeat returns State-side with DJ Icey's latest mix CD, For the Love of the Beat. Producing, remixing, or re-editing each track himself, Icey says this mix "is similar to my live sets where ninety-percent of what I spin is exclusive material." That may be why this mix CD can be considered one of Icey's best.

This 72-minute combination of electro, progressive, and funky breaks starts off with "And Go!," an Icey original with a deep bass line that foreshadows the hard driving mix to come. There is enough energy in the tracks that follow to justify considerable car-dancing even when stuck on the Downtown Connector in rush hour traffic. Icey updates the Crystal Method's "Comin' Back" with "militant, heavy bass lines and grimy beats to contrast the sweet, melancholy vocal." The relaxed pitch of the reggae styled "One Foot Skank" alternates with a faster breakbeat that adds an original twist without slowing down the CD's energy. Icey claims his six minute re-edit/mash-up of "Front 2 Back" and "Algebra" is one of his most trainspotted tracks and no wonder, as it expertly combines a lighter tripping beat with funky and electro sounds. The floor filler, "Shadow Breaks" by Aquasky and Masterblaster, is reminiscent not only of Icey's classic funky electro style found on his earlier releases but also his newer, more progressive style introduced on last year's Different Day.

Different Day On previous releases, Icey establishes a high energy mix and keeps the pitch up until about halfway through the mix. Then he sends the mix into a nosedive which lasts for two to three tracks and almost loses the listener completely before pulling out of it. Just when For the Love of the Beat should be reaching its peak, "Weighed Down" by Plump DJs does just what its title implies. If this was Different Day, the airy vocals on "Into the Sun" would have worked. But they only chase the mix farther away from its funky, electrified first half.

Just when the mix is about to fall victim to the eject-button, it is brought back to life with Shakedown's "At Night." Icey takes 2001's popular house track and revamps the evocative vocals with a harder breakbeat to bring back the pitch and energy of the earlier tracks. "Hardaway's Work," another Icey original, is quintessential Florida breaks while the trippy psychedelics of "Get Yourself High" by the Chemical Brothers match the CD's art work which Icey describes as "a throwback to the halcyon days of the 60s." Icey mashes up himself posing as Isle Natividad on "What Percent of Nothing" with the a cappella version of Raw Silk's "Do It to the Music." In the style of "Beats 2," "New Year's Day Mash-up," and his remix of "King of Pain," the original "Camino Real" demonstrates that few can match Icey's skills at blending dance music's inorganic electronic sounds with an organic guitar riff, piano, or classic rock sampling. It is a perfect closing track for this mix.

Over the past couple of years, many dance music critics have denounced the raw, sexy style of domestic breaks in favor of the progressive and nu skool tracks pumped by UK DJs and producers. While the UK may be good at the cleaner, synthetic styles of breaks, only the US can add the dirty and down to earth elements that define funky breaks. For the Love of the Beat brings breakbeats back to the days when b-boys from the Bronx popped and locked to DJs like Afrika Bambaataa and Grandmaster Flash who were just beginning to define the genre. By reworking tracks from both sides of the Atlantic and mixing in some of his own distinctive work, Icey reestablishes respect for domestic breaks.


DJ Icey - For The Love Of The Beat

Disc 1:

  1. Different Day
  2. Searching
  3. Naive Journey
  4. Future L
  5. Freaks in the House
  6. Dreams
  7. Sinewave
  8. Little Louder
  9. Groove Lick
  10. Slake
  11. Dim the Sky
  12. Electro Morning MMIII
  13. Cross Eyed Sally [Robotic Ragga Mix] [Video] [*] [Multimedia Track]

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