Five more worth talking about
Symbio-Live At Lost On Main 4/13/07 2xCD (USA)
Few mixes I have heard contain such a wide variety of stellar tracks aimed strictly at the dancefloor with such a consistent level of energy and intensity. To me this is right up there with Diplo's Mad Decent podcast shows, an excellent look at cutting edge urban club music. No trance, no being "up in the lights", liquid dances, or "gettin ya gangsta on". This is simply a let's-roll-up-our-sleeves-and get-down kinda performance without any frills or pretentions, more of a "shut up and dance" kinda sensation. The first disk starts slowly with Erykah Badu and gently ups the BPMs as Symbio weaves his way through the best offerings of new school hip-hop (with a heavy focus on the OM Hip Hop type of West Coast flava) and gradually upping the ante with some crucial baile funk, grime, and the always welcome nu booty. Eventually Symbio settles into a more conventional Dirtybird groove of crunked out West Coast techno on the second disk but the tracks never fail to excite or disappoint. This collection is crazy and manic without ever feeling crazy and manic and that's the sign of a good DJ making things smooth up in the mix.
Available for download at:
Bjørn Torske-Feil Knapp (Smalltown Supersound)(Norway)
This guy's singles on Djax-Up-Beats really defined early-to-mid 90s techno for me and his Nedi Myra album for Russ Gabriel's legendary Ferox imprint still stands the test of time as a pure genius of techno and leftfield sounds. If you add Torske's work with Røyksopp into the mix you suddenly begin to wonder why this Norwegian dude isn't as big as Lindstrøm and Prins Thomas by now. One of the reasons is that he isn't very prolific (perhaps due to those long Norwegian winters) and the other is that Torske's take on techno is a little farther leftfield than most dancefloor aficianados can generally handle. Feil Knapp is still pretty out there but still an excellent compliment to his last full length 2001's Trøbbel for fans of Norwegian techno. This time 'round Torske updates a bit by cleverly fusing nu disco synthiness with minimal techno's clicks, and a deep, dubiness generally associated with Basic Channel productions. Torske's product is again stellar, making you wonder why this guy isn't more prolific-the dance music world sure would be better off. What's really captivating about Feil Knapp, beyond it's Scandanavian charm, is Torske's intrinsic knowledge of how to use those melancholy Nordic melodies to maximum effect ala Trentemøller- making tracks like Hatten Passer both achingly beauiful and immenently groovy.
Simon Dunmore-Defected In The House-Eivissa 2007 2xCD (Defected)(UK)
Defected has to be one of the most recognized names in house music at this point. Although I must admit I was not a big fan of Defected's output during the late 90s and early 2000s. I definitely shied away from the UK imprint's mix CDs and singles at that time, dismissing them as too commercial and fluffy. But in the past two years Defected has become a consistent trademark of quality on par with a label like OM Records out in San Francisco and in the last year the label has been on a serious roll with crucial mixes from Martin Solveig, Dennis Ferrer, and now label head Simon Dunmore all on the label's signature series Defected In The House. Eivissa 2007 is the latest installment of Defected's Ibiza series and light years better than what you might be thinking-bad breezy summer time house music with flamenco guitars being played while ugly British chicks shake their doughy asses sporting bathing suits that do nothing to hide their pasty skins. Dunmore keeps the groove right where it should be-current. With a heavy does of techno infused into Defected's normal cadre of garage, vocal house, and disco what comes out is an inviting and soulful excursion to the underground with some serious techno bounce in the engine room to keep things jumping and hardly ever boring. Well done Defected.
The Nextmen-This Was Supposed To Be The Future (Antidote)(UK)
Antidote's label bio states that "[the label embodies] the original concept behind hip-hop music - taking in a myriad of musical influences, mixing them all up together, and coming up with something fresh." This coming from a major label, albeit a major label in England, but a major nonetheless. Do you think Jay-Z gets up in the morning thinking things like that. Hell no! Hip-hop in the States is practically owned by the Republican party and is about as underground as a Wal-Mart SuperStore. And I'll be damned if two white dude from Cambridge, "home of a famous university and a terrible football team", didn't conjure up an album of credible album of hip-hop by mixing up a myriad of styles from soul to dancehall. Personally I think that the laidback 80s R&B influenced "Memory Lane" is the summer jam inna South London style on a solidly funky, b-boy dedicated hip-hop album. Do not sleep on this record.
Dennis Ferrer-Defected In The House 3xCD (Defected)(UK)
First off I gotta give some gratitude to the label for shipping this copy over complete with jewel case, that ain't cheap, so many thanks to Defected. The description on the front of the CD says it all "Twisted Tech House and percussive Disco grooves fused together by New York's hottest new producer talent". I know some of you are all over that and some of you know where you stand with house music. Let me however warn you that there is a lot of techno on this collection (think Basic Channel and Henrik Schwarz) but a little too many vocal tracks for my tastes so it may appeal to both sides of the fence. Don't know how "new" a talent Ferrer is considering he's being making productions for quite awhile and his style harkens back to the old Kerri Chandler garage/gospel sounds of the early 90s complete with those deep, dirty basslines. Of course there is a strong Larry Heard influence running hard throughout and that's where the mechanized soul injection comes from when Ferrer gets techy. Add a third CD of dancefloor classics like "Cavern" by Liquid Liquid , Roy Davis, Jr's "Watch Them Come" (which still sounds totally fresh today). and a true all-time fave "Pull Up to My Bumper" by the always scary Grace Jones and you have the makings of a great mix collection.