Robin Hughes reviews Solitaire Vol. 2 by Oneman. 



Solitaire vol 2 cover


Oneman is one of the very few people to have made it in the dance scene based purely on his DJing skills. He has produced (almost) no music and yet is one of the most respected figures in the dance underground. This is testament mostly to his selection. Of course his mixing is as tight as can be, but the same can be said of a lot of DJs; what sets Oneman apart is the breadth of tracks he pulls out. He is just as comfortable playing a Prince record as the latest hype banger, which makes his sets unmissable. You never know what’s coming next.

This is the second instalment in his ‘Solitaire’ mix series, the first of which came out in February. Vol. 2 is more heavily rap-based than Vol. 1, though it still boasts its fair share of UK underground tracks. Particular highlights are Mumdance & Logos collaboration ‘Legion’ with its pounding subs, Alex Deamonds’ self-released ‘Air Max 97’, and Twwth’s ‘Thousand Million’, which is an ice-cold pumper with a vocal sample bragging about ‘cash… in f**k you quantities’.

One notable feature of the mix is the presence of two new Loefah tracks; without a proper solo release since 2008, any new Loefah material is greeted with excitement. The two offered up here, ‘Grand Master [Ruff Mix]’ and ‘Champion’, are low slung trap pieces, and are somewhat disconcerting coming from Loefah. On one hand, his work has always had a hip-hop influence (his hi-hats in particular have always had a swagger to them), and yet it feels odd to see someone who was such a pioneer in the early days of dubstep put out tracks which fit so snugly into an already well-established sound.

As for the US rap represented in the mix, Oneman usually has good taste: Lil Ugly Mane’s ‘Throw Dem Gunz’ is wonderfully laid back, coasting over a string-laden beat; Rich Homie Quan shows a distinctive flow on ‘Some Type Of Way’; and there are a couple of Denzel Curry tracks laced with his signature menace and aggression. The only downer is the abysmal ‘Furthest Thing’ by Drake. But one duff track out of forty-one isn’t such a bad record.

If you’re a Oneman fan, you’ll love Solitaire Vol. 2; it’s got the energy of his radio shows with a slightly tighter focus to keep your attention engaged over the entire ninety minutes. If you’ve never heard of Oneman before, listen to this immediately; he’s one of the top handful of DJs around, and this is him at the peak of his powers.



Robin Hughes


Photo Credits: Justin Blythe