Renato Ratier – Black Belt (The Remixes Vol.1)
Label: D-Edge RecordsScore: 8/10
Renato Ratier’s many merits have been discussed ad infinitum on these pages, but that, of course, is down to his inexplicable rise through the ranks of late. The multifaceted DJ/producer/nightclub owner and label owner has left an inimitable mark on clubland of late, a fact that’s partly thanks to his many precocious and excellent productions, the likes of which was very much apparent on Black Belt, his debut LP.
For his latest party-trick, Ratier calls on a host of his producer friends to remix the project, and when you’ve got friends in high places like Ratier quite clearly does, assembling a lengthy and impressive cast becomes that much easier. That said, the main protagonist deserves as much credit as the remixers for the triumph that is Black Belt: The Remixes, not least because Ratier quite clearly knows who he’s wrangling in to put a new spin on his original works.
And boy, some of these are truly stunning efforts – which is what you’d imagine from a chorus that reads like a who’s who of clever, contemporary electronica. Sascha Dive’s tackling of the title-number signals the potent jouney that we’re letting ourselves in for. First up on the album, it strikes an impression immediately thanks to its many forceful meanderings. Not quite what we usually associate with Mr.Dive – but a quality outing regardless.
The LP barely pauses for breadth from here on in, as names such as Shaded and Cadenza fave Cesare vs Disorder give the likes of ‘Keymono’ and ‘Feitshu’ new licks of paint that are as colourful as they are colourless – a true sign of the eclectic vibes which are scattered throughout. In between these notable moments are tracks by luminaries a la Adam Shelton and Secret Cinema. Shelton’s take on ‘Midnight Sun’ sees the Birmingham native join the dots between deep and tech-house like only he knows how, while Secret Cinema’s take on ‘Redlight’ makes for a veritable explosion of vigour and sound.
The album’s second half is no less enticing, with joints from Ian Pooley and Yoruba Soul amongst those really prickling our earbuds. Pooley’s remix of ‘Miss Stereo’ is a throwback to the days when he was one of house music’s most consistent production forces, and while he’s not on our radar as much as he used to be these days, it’s clear he still knows full well how to churn out a quality tune when the situation arrises. The aforementioned Yoruba Soul thrills on his take on ‘Teatime’; a meandering, catchy number that features everything from African percussion to delicate strings to sumptuous, dancefloor calling, Balearic vocal flourishes. When it comes to carefully selecting the remixers to join him, Renato Ratier most definitely earns his black belt. Fantastic work all round.