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Club Beat #5: Review of Michael Woods – Ministry of Sound Club Residents

Top DJ Michael Woods, launched his new album early last week. Ann tells us why we should love it or loathe and whether it’ll get us all in the right mood for the summer.

In October 2010, Ministry announced their new club residents. It was a stroke of genius securing Michael Woods, a DJ who had already completed residencies at Cream, Amnesia, in Ibiza, supported Deadmau5 on his UK tour, and is renowned for his distinctive production, performance and remixes of huge names in mainstream and dance music.

Woods’ album is the first in a series of compilation CDs entitled Ministry of Sound Club Residents. It takes tracks and remixes from 2010/11 as well as four exclusives. Tracks like VMS, one of the exclusives, are smashing dance floors. Woods’ remix of Chris Lake and Deadmau5’s I Said energises the crowd and always sounds fresh. Woods’ collaborations are no different: Dominos is a perfectly crafted ‘floor filler that builds and builds. Dropzone is a more trancey offering with bleeps like an 8-bit video game. Also featured is a remix of an artist on Woods’ record label. As with his own productions, those released on Diffused are big room dance tracks. Recent examples include Hayley Parsons’ Next Stop AU and NO_ID’s Sex Sells EP. Woods’ remix of Clashback’s Outset has proved popular and sounds like a festival anthem. Woods has the imagination and ability to create his own sounds and interesting chord progressions. Flawless production is evident throughout his album and particularly hits you in the uplifting and driving First Aid. These tracks are perfect for Ministry’s custom-designed sound system.

The first time Woods played in the Box at Ministry, he blew the crowd away. The album launch, being his first time as a headliner, was equally as memorable. He opened with an exclusive, Front Line. The anticipation built with the drums and we were given some respite with the beautiful breakdown before being thrown back into battle. What’s What, another exclusive, is a winding track with hints of electro that caused the crowd to throw their hands towards the booth in elation. Woods’ remix of Moguai’s Oyster was in my Top Five for 2010. It was a favourite at Global Gathering, played in practically every set in the Godskitchen Boombox. No wonder, you can’t help but move. Woods gave a nod to ‘90s house with Dynamik (Show Me Love Bootleg) and included some killer techno with Roy RosenfelD’s Balloons. Woods’ sets are crafted to get you dancing, but they are never tiring. Mixing tracks from different genres, changing pace and building a rapport with the crowd have built him a loyal fan base.

A classically trained musician, Woods’ creations are original and distinctive. He is able to totally transform tracks, such as his remix of La Roux’s In For The Kill, and his sets are seamlessly mixed. His relationship with Ministry means we’ll be hearing more of him at the club and internationally.

You can listen to the second half of his set here:

- Ann Bartholomew



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