M.A.N.D.Y.-Fabric 38 (Fabric)(UK)
I sometimes wonder, how many times can I crown a Fabric compilation number one for the week? Am I biased or is the music coming out that bad? Probably more of the former than the latter. OK, I am biased because I feel like I am more of a fan and listener than a critic, called by a higher power-economic necessity. As a poor fanboy I am a defender of your hard earned dollars from eager and opportunistic labels eager to reach into our collective trousers and steal our filthy lucre. I feel I can strongly endorse Fabric as presenting a quality product on a very consistent basis and once again they go back to the Fatherland with a mix from Get Physical duo M.A.N.D.Y.. The GP and M.A.N.D.Y. steez is a little different than that of the Steve Bug/Poker Flat camp, yet the ends achieved are similar in scope with exciting new explorations in house and techno. I first listened to this CD during the first of our many January winter weather disasters and what a relief it is was when those Energizer batteries still worked and the darkness was split by the first half of a CD that was dark and strange while simultaneously textured and exotic. Heady stuff, like Shalimar. That's the power of music. Great new tracks from Gui Borrato, label mates Booka Shade, Dubfire, and Robag Wruhme really propel the first half of this expansive 25 track mix but the second half of the mix falls a little flatter and is thusly more disappointing. Unfortunately,just like labelmates B.S. and DJ T I find these guys doing the hard sell on the Get Physical material and when things pick up on the second half of the mix that's exactly where M.A.N.D.Y. heads off to with a slew of GP cuts as well as artists and labels that sound like stuff that would come out on GP. Those critical assessments aside the Simon Flowers cut on Poker Flat "The Whisper Had It" is a stand out cut this winter and even got me pulled over in my Honda for bumping it on the sound system too loud. That's the power of music.
FROM LEAF TO FEATHER-Themes On An Imaginary Winter (Milan)(US)
This debut disk is a real standout from the L.A. quartet From Leaf To Feather who first appeared on last year's comp From LA With Love, which I duly gushed over. That track (which opened the comp) "Nightsun" makes a return appearance here on Themes as a psychedelic cum bossa nova reflection on the infamous LAPD helicopter fly-overs. It's joined by a slew of other solid tracks that evoke thoughts of Topanga Canyon and Arthur Lee as well as the Fab Four, the Beastie Boys, and especially Brian Wilson ("The Eve" could be mistaken as another lost Smile recording). "The Hamster & The Heir" has a nice childlike quality to it and "Albeit" is nice in a Brian Jonestown Massacre meets the Archies kinda way but is sadly incomplete. Overall a great debut and a new band worth supporting especially for those who are fans of the Ubiquity or Stones Throw labels.
diskJOKKE-Staying In (Smalltown Supersound)(Norway)
"Folka I Farta" opened disk one of a recent Sander Kleinenberg mix disk and upon hearing it I was instantly hooked. The opportunity to review diskJokke's full length gave me a chance to hear if he had any more tracks in him as good as that one which masterfully crafts low key electro house with the loping cosmic disco, Norwegian style. Thing is the disk opener is probably one of the weaker cuts on an album stacked full of top shelf new explorations in melody and fresh with a variety lacking right now in electronic artists' albums. Staying in is eye opening with a new approach to meshing the more pompous "cosmic" groove elements with a dirty, stripped down retro-minimal sound that is equally chin and crotch stroking.
THESE NEW PURITANS-Navigate, Navigate CD single (Domino)(UK)
The A-side is a plodding 15-minute indie dance rock opus fashioned for a fashion show. A Phil Spector mini-symphony with far less grace and elegance, although I doubt any of these cheery English lads would shoot you in the mouth and subsequently claim suicide to the police. Personally, I would rather hear Sonic Boom in one of his various alias droning away for 15 minutes on a single chord than most of this single. But hey, I haven't been a huge fan of Domino thus far either. Tim Goldworthy under his The Loving Hand moniker salvages this single much like the one he did for the Maps, another combo I cared litte for besides the remix. Nu rave wins in a battle versus sleazy disco. Bassline is one for the ages and a poor song is once again saved by the generosity of the DFA crew (American based-BTW).
VARIOUS-Cinematic: Classic Film Music Remixed (Six Degrees)(US)
Totally unnecessary compilation from the usually dependable Six Degrees label. There are a few good remixes here from mostly more obscure films (with the exception of Ben Hur which shows up here twice) of the 70s variety. There is little that even the biggest names in the world of downtempo music can do to save these remixes from sounding more appropriate in a movie starring Ron Jeremy. Not that there's anything wrong with that but ya get my drift. Bent, The Real Tuesday Weld, and Tom Middleton turn in nice mixes but the rest is at your own risk.