Review of House Couture mixed by Terence:Terry Album by Various Artists

Anyone can do mixtape, right? All sounds so easy: a few audio files, your free trial software, combine it with the sweet vibes only your bedroom can produce and, hey presto, suddenly you're Paul Oakenfold. Well, maybe, but not quite. Those who've ever tried to cross-fade Little Mix into Block Rockin' Beats will tell you that the DJ's art is actually rooted in something far more complex than just manipulating software. Even though some of the tactile skills so fondly cherished by the first generations of booth maestros are no longer needed, the things that can't be taught (feel, progression, when to hit the accelerator) remain the difference between the people at the top of their profession and the bozos with Christmas tree lights forever playing wedding receptions.

Various Artists House Couture mixed by Terence:Terry Album

Terence:Terry is of the old school, vinyl era, caught up in the rush of the first Parisian raves and riding the acid house wave between his home city and London ever since, gathering a reputation for traversing genres whilst ducking the obvious plays. Now running his own fashion press agency and part of the underground furniture as an artist and producer, he set up his own label La Vie En Rose in 2012, and it's from his own impressive stable of ingénues that roughly a third of this mix is crafted.

Despite his pedigree, the project suffers initially from some of the same unpredictable dynamics of how a set can be consumed live: without familiarity (much of his own label output featured here is as yet unreleased) the crowd need to go with their instincts. This means that for the first 40 minutes plus, up for it punters are left with nothing much to get excited about. Effortlessly uniform and refined, up until the hazy warmth and Balearic washes of Carlos Sanchez's 'Touch Wood', it's hard to tell whether TT is trying too hard or not enough, before he begins to pull some familiar rabbits out of his chapeau. Suddenly, what had been more home than club is wickedly inverted, The Mole's 'MMD' acid house tinged remix of Gary Todd's '24 Hour Party Sausage' taking us to places weird and wonderful, whilst Chicago veteran Mickey Oliver's ancient gem 'Anticipate' revives Speak & Spell voice processing and bonkers DIY minimalism to great effect.

What follows is an exercise in how to attract crate digging loonies to your booth. Optik's 'The Chance' is a good example, summoned up from jacking's outer reaches (well, 1990) its primitive beats are somehow deeply satisfying. It must equally be a hell of a temptation when you run your own label to cave in and throw out something of your own: TT can be forgiven though, his 'Testing The Water' here the sound of a man revelling in his work, tight and compact, as overground as the underground can get. Despite all the invitations, however, even at the end there's still an odd sense of stiff upper lip, of refusing to lose, as the popping hi hats and funky pads of Lucas Mari's 'AM' ruffle little more than hair, whilst just as orthodox but radiating sun terrace glee, YMC's 'Elastic' closes out on a sophisticated but locked in note, grooves and sweat making texture in a sympatico orbit.  

It's not easy being a good DJ: if it was, we'd all be sleeping in until 3 in the afternoon, having Rice Krispies for lunch and dreaming up fresh ways to dominate a room. When it sounds like it's off the cuff, it almost certainly isn't, but leaving your audience waiting for the first half here is a trick which Terence:Terry should know better than to use. The day's eventually saved, but what could've been a stroll to greatness isn't quite that.


Andy Peterson