Junkie XL "Beauty Never Fades / Breezer"Released on Roadrunner Records
Tom Holkenborg, better known as Junkie XL or JXL has made a reputation for himself over the years with his unique live show / band setup as well as productions that include 'Bon Voyage' and 'Future In Computer Hell'. Most recently he was involved in the production of Sasha's 'Airdrawndagger' album and has been roadtesting tracks from his own forthcoming album. Two of these tracks are 'Beauty Never Fades' and 'Breezer', which after months of being played religiously by Sasha and JXL himself are now available for anyone to own.
You will know 'Beauty Never Fades' unless you have been living under a rock for many months. What started off being played by Sasha who played it right throughout his Airdrawndagger tour, soon became a highly sought after track unlike most others of 2002. A spacial progressive house groove controls the track which features the vocals of Saffron, formerly of Republica and also recent collaborator with Tarrentella, rolling forward as effects swirl in the background and the vocal thunders through with immense power, fading to a vocal chorus before the hypnotic beats kick in once more, leading us to one final reprise. Whilst a superbly produced track, it isn't particuarly innovative and doesn't offer anything you haven't heard before, but is worth checking out regardless.
'Breezer' on the other hand is a funky guitar based track that is based around a simple loop idea that expands and deflates which makes the guitar take on some strange sounds. Add in a the uplifting house groove underneath which brings out all the small effects and sounds that sit between the main riif and the bassline and the final product is something that takes a nostalgic influence from the progressive house gems of years gone by, and over the past few years this track has evolved in creation with input from none other than Sasha, that is no surprise.
Disc 2 continues the 'Extension' of Beauty Never Fades, which is a tougher instrumental version of the original, which is more of a dj tool than anything else, and can be used as lead in to the original or as a set finale afterwards, with the vox reprise right at the end serving either purpose well.
Finising off the package is the 'DJ Tiesto' remix of Breezer who takes the tracks and turns it into a full on euro trance rework, speeding up the riff with catastrophic results and totally losing the feel of the original. A huge brown mark on what is otherwise a decent doublepack EP.
2003 looks set to be Junkie XL's year with forthcoming remixes of Infusion's 'Legacy', Fischerspooner's 'Emerge' and Syntax's 'Pray' on the horizon, in addition to to his latest artist album 'Radio JXL' in the spring. It will be interesting to see if he manages to top the success achieved by his record breaking Elvis 'remix', 'A Little Less Conversation'.