Review of the Mix Collection 2 album from 1996.
An interesting one this.. The album always seems to split the camp but i think its a belter, often dust it off for spin. Renaissance 1 was always going to be an incredibly difficult project to follow up, Digweed however in my own opinion did it with style. The first album originally started out as a two CD set then expanded to three and still today its generally classed as the benchmark for DJ mix CDs. Its not something that should be compared to the first outing but one that definitely has enough substance to stand shoulder to shoulder, Digweeds mixing at times is completely sublime.
There's an apocryphal tale that a couple of deities have made their departure from the Renaissance Mix compilation series. God (as depicted on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel by Michaelangelo) and Sasha have both been replaced on the fold out crucifix cover of 'Renaissance..' by an extreme close up of Hastings boy, John Digweed. Even without a crown of thorns, the allusion is a potent one. And misleading. For over the course of three expertly mixed CDs, Diggers demonstrates his faith lies not in cosy adherence to standards, but in an evangelical zeal set to his own. Much like the original Renaissance man, Digweed seems able to turn his hand to anything, from remixing Marco Polo's 'A Prayer To The Music' (which starts CD Two) to formulating an epic set ranging effortlessly from the good time vocals of Judy Cheeks, via the tranciness of Zenith Nadir, to the teutonic tones of Kid Paul or Jens Mahlstedt. Leonardo da Vinci called this quality 'spezzatura', and whatever we call it today, Digweed certainly has it. Whereas most of the DJs who 'I take your money on a Saturday night' clearly don't. Dum Dum, Moby, Rising High Collective, Floppy Sounds, LaTour, Opus III, Robert Miles, Shanna, and Justine are just a few of the artists from the 30 or so featured labels. Eclecticism was never more clearly defined, and Renaissance seems to have been reborn from a return to a style and intensity last experienced on some heady night back in Mansfield.
The king is dead.. Long live the king...
Review first appeared in Muzik magazine in 1995 - Dave Fowler