The first release to really approximate a live DJ Rap set, Touching Bass
is a double disc, separated into one disc of drum'n'bass and one of breaks. After the pop crossover of her first production album, it's clear Rap's in no danger of hitting the charts with this mix, a set of furious hardstep tracks that starts out with a tech edge (Danny C, Dillinja
) and rapidly reaches the sort of tempos not heard outside of specialty rooms since the brief reign of hardcore and gabba during the mid-'90s. Two impossibly driving, minimalist productions by Sonic & Silver bookend the excellent Accidental Heroes
track "Even When It Rains," just before Danny C makes the first of several more welcome appearances -- he remixes two DJ Rap tracks and co-produces a third, "The Riff." The breaks disc doesn't begin on a good note ("Out There" by DJ Rap and Konverter is weighed down by a weak vocal sample), but for the rest of the set Rap shows as sure a hand with the selection and mixing as she does with drum'n'bass. She grabs tracks from some of the best in the breaks business (Plump DJs
, Dylan Rhymes, Phil Kieran, Rennie Pilgrem) and cleverly works in a few nods to her breakbeat past: the Moving Shadow classic "Helicopter Tune" by Deep Blue and "The Stammer" by Raw as F**k (including Aston Harvey
, co-producer of her classic "Spiritual Aura").