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Maddslinky – Further Away review

The man of many names – Zed Bias, Maddslinky and one half of Phuturistix – is back with this second single from his Make A Change long player on Tru Thoughts. After the Special EP from late last year included Toddla T, MJ Cole, AtJazz and Simbad on the remix front, it’s hard to imagine topping that level of quality, but Tru Thoughts have excelled once again by putting together a stellar cast of remixers.

Featuring the vocals of Tawiah, the original of “Further Away” is big. Though Tawiah coos softly during the verses, things get huge during the choruses as Maddslinky’s orchestral electronica takes over from the gentle, gliding jazz chords of the verse. It’s stirring stuff, and credit has to go to Maddslinky for combining nu-jazz sounds and structures with dubstep-friendly rhythms and bass.

Perhaps a natural choice to deliver a remix, NYC’s FaltyDL is a soulful future-garage head who has been playing plenty of ZB stuff in his DJ sets of late. Quite startlingly on the down low, DL’s mix is stirring in a whole new way – supplying a doom-laden half-step shuffle that allow the vocals to really breathe. More upbeat, Funk Butcher steps in with a hell of a mix which manages to sound like Adonis jamming with MJ Cole. Veteran British producer El-B takes a different tack – using a set of live sounds, such as a funky Hammond, to set off a sweaty nu-funk-meets-garage mix. In stark contrast, Fat City/3024’s bass warrior Illum Sphere cooks up a creeping, claustrophobic mix that constantly rises in volume in tandem with Tawiah’s vocals and threatens to go ballistic at any minute.

A hugely bright, Afro-pop mix comes courtesy of Tru Thoughts’ Hint, who adds a string-laden chord progression that fits the vocals like a glove. More punchy is the mix by upcoming D&B stars Dawn Raid, who fit the vocals around a pleasingly jungle-esque slice of jump-up, while Dubchild gives it a huge, bassy rerub that’s equally off the hook. Special mention should also go out to Polar Pair’s mix, which manages to update the classic drum sample from Schooly D’s “PSK:What Does It Mean?” and create something that almost resembles orchestral dubstep. With an acapella and a dub also included, you can make your own mix if you want to, But it looks like Tru Thoughts have pretty much covered all bases on this excellent package.

Oliver Keens