Top 5 picks this week!

Mungolian Jetset-We Gave It All Away...Now We Are Taking It Back 2xCD (Smalltown Supersound)(Norway)
This album is on a small list of contenders for album of the year with this long-winded disco cum psychedelic journey down the technicolor brick road to hell. Disk one is the stronger of the two here with a focus on actual songs and the same cheeky sense of humor found on albums by the Orb. Cuts like the mysterious group's collabo with Lindstrøm on "A Blast Of Loser" are redefining the downtempo aesthetic with a nice mix of technology and tune. If the first disk was the Yardbirds in full Sixties glory than disk two is Led Zeppelin at their bloated Seventies worst with a lot more pointless noodling and indie chicanery and much less of the stellar amphetamine sculpted disco-delia found on disk one. It has its moments but you really have to sit down with a big spliff and neutralize yourself before anything even remotely good shows up on the musical radar-kinda like Lindstrøm.

Joachim Spieth-Presents Affin Selected 03 (Affin)(Germany)
The third installment of singles from German techno imprint Affin are exciting in some cases but most don't stray too far from the standard minimal template that rules the dancefloor these days. Spieth, who despite his young age, has already had a rather illustrious career and his tracks as well as remixes nicely straddle the line between more commercial motivations and underground purity on this comp. Other standouts on the label include Marc Miroir and Little Fritter who also turn in solid contributions for Affin Selected 03 . Beyond that, this is little more than a digital singles collection of which most buyers will purchase less than 20% of what's being offered-in this case 15 tracks-and it's hard to see that as being anything but wasteful.

Oscar G-DJ 2xCD (+DVD) (Nervous)(US)
As if offering a countering viewpoint to the oversaturation bombing campaigns being conducted by disposable digital labels such as Affin, house music heavyweight Nervous Records returns with another full length from Miami's Oscar G. In addition to the new artist album there is a live-in-the-club mix as well as a live DVD video for a mondo three disk package. It's almost ostentation considering how late in the game it is for disk-based media but never the less this marketing move does give this whole project-which is a little weak overall-some extra legs to stand on to make it appear stronger. The new material is about on par with last year's album by Oscar G-nothing great or out of the ordinary and certainly no new musical frontiers being assailed by the veteran house producer on this very conservative effort. The DJ mix is a bit flat and predictable and I won't even go into the video with its "Girls Gone Wild At The Club" appeal. And while there are some tunes to really dig on DJ, in the end it's mostly the nice, fat packaging that makes this whole project special and appealing not the amount nor the contents of the disks inside,

Umek-Umek? Hell Yeah! (Hell Yeah)(Italy)
Slovenia's Uros Umek seems to have a release out every other week and has worked in every style of techno from minimal to assembly line over the past two decades. This new mix for Italian label Hell Yeah is the same kind of big room techno mix you'd hear from just about any of the big names in Europe from Speedy J to Carl Cox. Subtlety and programming are not this guy's strong areas, rather he mixes well and works all matter of clattering drums into bubbling lakes of polyrhythmic stew. His manner is relentless and the roster of artists on this mix never allow for one moment of having the dancefloor stop shuffling for an epic breakdown. Ten years ago this compilation would have been the perfect antidote for all of that hands-in-air crap but nowadays Umek's mix sounds a whole lot like everyone else's. It's a shame, too because Umek has never once compromised his style or tastes, sadly the rest of the world finally caught up with him and sank his ship.

Vinyl Life-S/T (Tape Theory)(US)
Finally an album by a real funk trio from dudes playing real electro in the age of ELECTRO. It's amazing to hear engineers work their analog gear to create sounds, there is nothing digital that even comes close. That's what makes this album and this group so perfect, they care about sound and sound quality. Unfortunately, with that comes retro preservations tendencies-which I've never been a big fan of in my years of being an avid listener and yet is a common cubbyhole for many artists. While I loved electro as a kid and I do appreciate this authentic throwback artifact in opposition to say Deadmau5 I have to say overall this just isn't what gets me up in the morning ready to lay down a mix or edit a remix. I'd would say, however, based on the group's eclectic tastes that these guys will take their influences much further than many other electronic artists out there and this could spell eventual pop success. We'll see...

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