Various – Mosaic Volume 1 review

Former Bad Company man dBridge has always been one of the most forward-thinking D&B producers around, as his recent ambient/IDM effort for the Autonomic label neatly proved. Even so, few expected him to curate a compilation quite so eclectic, atmospheric and otherworldly as this. Although firmly rooted in drum and bass and dubstep, Mosaic Volume One delights in confounding and confusing. It’s not so much a D&B compilation as a collection of IDM, next-level electronica and wonky futurist beats. It even steps into slo-mo four-four territory on occasions (dBridge’s own “Decayed”, which will be of interest to fans of Om Unit and Arp 101) – something previously frowned upon by many within the junglist community.

Of course, such an eclectic approach would mean nothing if the material were sub standard. Thankfully, Mosaic Volume One is good… very good. In fact, it could be argued that it’s the most revolutionary set of tracks to emerge from the D&B scene for a decade. As you’d expect from dBridge, the overriding feel throughout is one of tech-tinged paranoia. Yet there’s much more to Mosaic Volume One than mere sci-fi obsessed darkness. Musically, there are moments of intense, shimmering beauty (see Stray’s ambient era Aphex-ish “Pushed”, Synkro’s blissful “Open Arms” and Dan Habarnam’s “Nu Este Roz”). Invariably, it is these moments that stand out.

A glimpse at the tracklist would suggest a raft of ‘standard’ big name contributions included to pull in punters – Commix, Skream, Instra:mental, Loxy & Rasound and Indigo are all involved – but this couldn’t be further from the truth. The vast majority of these producers deliberately stray outside their comfort zone, largely with breathtaking results. Engaging, engrossing and enjoyable in equal measure, Mosaic Volume One should be essential listening for anyone with a passion for electronic music. This way lies the future.

Matt Anniss