What a blessing to have this jaw dropping mix from New Yorker Gabrielle Kwarteng, who pays homage to Middle Eastern electro, acid, classic house, Brazilian funk, deep house, Detroit techno, West African disco and much more.
Your eyes blink and flutter in the glare of the sun as you wake to a blistering heat. Today is the day. A new life awaits.
Gabrielle dives you straight in with opening credits of “Rita !!!! (The Caribbean Dark House Mix)” by Ciao Fellini, preparing you for the apocalyptic voyage across the desert. It is deliberate, bold, and epic. With an acid twang amongst seedy warehouse techno it delivers you to a distant dystopia, preparing you for the interminable adventure.
As a classic piano beat kicks in - lulling you into a false sense of security - you take your seat in the last carriage of an ornately decorated 1920’s train. You’re leaving the city behind in hope of a new life; it’s the last accessible train this side of the crater.
As you take off there is an abundance of grooving classic house - apparently there is a party with a disco ball a few carriages down so you show your face to dance away your worries. A dirty electro bass envelops the revellers in a gritty, sweaty dance and what sounds like a traditional rababa begins to play; the sounds of “Blue Pyramid” from Virginia. Soothing, blended stringed notes prance around as the scenery contorts outside the windows, and a bleak, arid landscape replaces the broken buildings of yesterday. Camels negotiate battered tractors and dump trucks that litter the fractured motorway as it slithers out of sight to the west.
A cacophony of crows swarm the train before passing overhead. Another sumptuous piano beat hits as clouds evacuate the sky and all things gleam in the heat of the midday sun. Still you dance.
The gravitas of your journey hits you as reality is left behind and a new world emerges outside the train. Three legged dogs with missing eyes slide down sand dunes in an attempt to escape snakes thrice their size. Vultures espy scraps for miles atop dilapidated rebellion outposts from long forgotten wars.
Manic laughter echoes on the wind as a saxophone in the disco room takes us back to the shores of Ibiza 20 years ago. It’s all aglitter and aglow with “Comedown” from Cappo & Mondragon playing as the desert and body heat cause heavy condensation in the carriage, with cavorters being soaked as though they were at a piss party. Rusted skeletons of ancient buildings blur the windows on either side and shield the darkest hour of the dance from being interrupted by the sun. A sensual, empowering female voice rings true through the shadows and infests the minds of those fortunate enough to partake.
The receding buildings are replaced by rolling green pastures as Gabrielle drops “Throb” from Janet Jackson - bliss! Euphoric house sounds and brass instruments bring a shining hope. The stellar mixing from Gabrielle highlights the versatility of the sounds and styles she uses throughout the mix, from disturbing sirens to vivacious trumpets and everything in between.
The closing track she brings us is a slow, gravelly electro track - “Deep Space” by The Colours That Rise. The perfect finish as the train pulls into what we must assume is a station, alas little life is to be seen. Some young trees, some flimsy sheds, and a bemusing atmosphere. The passengers abandon the train and squint in the sunlight… has your zenith already passed or is it yet to come?