Ben UFO is one of those rare breed of young DJs to make their name exclusively off DJing. You wont find a production anywhere to his name, yet Ben Thomson is at least as renowned as his producer counterparts in the Hessle Audio triumvirate, Pangaea and Pearson Sound. With his Rinse appearances being about the most universally lauded thing on the former London pirate next to Onemans show, its about time he had an entry in the stations eponymous mix series. Hes a DJ who can play sets composed entirely of classic house, vintage garage, OG dubstep or, of course, the kind of wildly careening dubplate-heavy set we expect from UK DJs on Rinse. You never know what youre going to get from a Ben UFO session, and that translates to his mix here as well: even a close scan of the tracklist doesnt give you much of a hint as to how all these tracks could possibly fit together coherently. As a DJ who seems to have been moving more and more towards house and techno flavours recently, Thomsons mix appropriately starts with XDB and Kassem Mosse—two names youd more readily associate with Germany than London. From then on were thrown into Dro Careys blackened weirdness and catapulted through tracks by STL, Champion, Lerosa and more. But Rinse:16 isnt a house music mix, and its also not a bass music mix. Its just a mix. Over 29 tracks Thomson hurtles through nearly every style of current bass music imaginable and far beyond, from the clubby (Boddika & Joy Os -Swims-) to the occluded and weird (Actress -Ghosts Have a Heaven-). Despite the sprawl its always determinedly focused, and never feels like hes stretching his (considerable) range. Refreshingly, this isnt an up-to-the-moment dubplate showcase either; there are of course some rare highlights—Jam Citys -Arpjam VIP-, a Pearson Sound remix of -Sicko Cell- - but they arent the hook. Thomson makes use of tracks from the past few years, uncharacteristic of the usually ultra - present and future-focused mix series. Its that aspect of the selection that really shows off Thomsons confidence and prowess as a DJ. He doesnt need to load his mix up with exclusives when hes got this kind of Midas touch. There are transitions here that are absolutely breathtaking, like the way 2562s clangy -Winamp Melodrama- swallows up Karenns buoyant -Caretaker-. It acts as a reminder that DJing is about more than just stringing together a bunch of unheard tracks from big names in the fastest manner possible. Its not often that a mix makes you stop and really think about whats going on behind those proverbial decks. Rinse:16 might be one of the most courageously diverse mixes in the bass music world in a while - and certainly the most in this particular series - but its also simply Ben UFO doing his thing. That alone is an absolute thrill to hear.
(added: 2011-11-28 09:49:28 )