It's certainly a feasible argument that many DJs do their best and flashiest work in the recording studio and unable to reproduce their mystique in a live setting. With only one guy behind the turntables, it's practically impossible to mix and spin with the delicate accuracy that's required from today's world-class DJs.
And that's where the UK's Tall Paul comes in. Joining forces with the Moonshine crew, Tall Paul has tried his hand(s) at the Mixed Live series. Just as the name suggests, these 16 tracks are an unaugmented live DJ set, recorded during the grand reopening of Giant in Los Angeles. With an almighty sound system, pro decks and a (presumably) chemically altered audience before him, Tall Paul triumphantly makes clear that he doesn't need behind-the-scenes extras or recording studio trickery to pull off his distinguished house style.
Tall Paul can do everything, from building a mix into a mighty mesh of rockin' beats and danceable grooves to deconstructing a tune into its separate streams and diminishing its strength with finger drags and dead-stops.
While he's not afraid to add his own musical endeavors to the mix (the rambunctious "Precious Heart" and "God's Love" are his work, under the pseudonym Tall Tin Box), Tall Paul tends to focus his faculties on other artists. With heavy, throbbing reverberations and women screaming in delight, Afrika Bambaata's "Funky Heros" literally brings the club setting to your bedroom. If you thought Rage Against the Machine did justice to Bambaata's music, get ready; Tall Paul literally reinvents Bambaata's samples in a classic display of early '90s hip-hop and hard house beats. As sweat begins to pour from your brow, Paul takes a whack at Duty Free artist Steve Lee, cranking up the intensity on "Bumper". The sinuous bass line adds a musical heartbeat to the mix, as feverish, locust-like buzzing fills your ears. Pete Heller's Stylus Trouble receives the magical Tall Paul touch as well; "Sputnik One"'s original synthy-trances gain a methodical, killer beat. Prepare for a sublime, skull-bashing set that leaves you not only seeing stars, but hearing one as well.
It's important to remember that this set was -- yes -- Mixed Live, with audience in tow. Tall Paul proves that he doesn't miss a beat; each cut bludgeons your body with attractive rhythms, then massages you with silky keyboard harmonies, all the while sounding as if the room has been cram-packed with house fans screaming for the joys of booming bass and strapping beats. Who needs recording gear? Tall Paul cranks out this batch of tunes with a well-defined hard house aesthetic, while nestled comfortably the decks, where he belongs.