Friday, 8 February 2013

DJ Trace - Mutant Revisited

DJ Trace - Mutant Revisited (Emotif, 1996)

Last week I looked at Trace's 'The Mutant' from 1995, his seminal remix of T.Power's 'Mutant Jazz'. Just one year later Trace reworked his remix and turned what was already a brutal piece of music into an unrelenting beast of a track which is a classic in its own right and just as innovative. I was lucky enough to pick up a promo copy of this before it got released and played it repeatedly for weeks.

It opens with the familiar reversed synth and strings from the original remix, eventually joined by the 'Life Could' break. Gone is the beat-switching with the 'Apache' break however and the differences between the two versions become more apparent at the drop. This track is the first to use a break that would come to be known as the 'Tramen', a portmanteau of Trace and the its principal component, the 'Amen'. It is combined with the 'Tighten Up and 'The Flow' breaks and despite being named after Trace it was actually created by Dom, the track's engineer, as Trace himself reveals:

"It is a beat Dom made, that he hadn't used yet. When I heard it I was like, that's the beat we need to use for Mutant Jazz Revisited. I then used it on Sonar and on Sniper where it was left clean for 16 bars on the intro - this is where everyone ripped it from. As long as people know that it's a Dom beat. Because I used it on 3 tracks I got associated with it... The Tramen tag is something that Fresh started when he started rinsing it after we made Nitrous."

The other striking difference between the two versions is their treatment of the Reese bassline. Whereas 'The Mutant' employed it sparingly, this revisit uses it constantly for nearly seven minutes, from the drop until the track fades out while still in full swing, suggesting it could just keep going forever. The Reese is even more heavily filtered than before as it twists and turns throughout the track and if this tune never stopped I don't think I would ever tire of it.

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