Secret Love 4, Electrolounge

Various
Mr & Mrs Smith Something for the Weekend 4
Seamless/Rhythmethod
4/5
An eclectic and well structured mix, focusing on fairly downbeat soul, both new (Victor Davies) and old (Bill Withers). An Alan Parsons Project album track is even thrown in, proof of the DJ’s sense of humour.
ipod essential – Bill Withers, ‘Use Me’

Various
Cafe Buddha
Parklane/Southbound
2/5
Inoffensive but pretty dull ‘sophisticated chill out’ music. Any connection to Buddha is tenuous at best: this is part of a series featuring such other, similarly suspect, titles as ‘Café Krishna’ and ‘Café Zen’.
ipod essential – Phil Mison, ‘Bakazou’

Various
Secret Love 4
Sonar Kollektiv/Rhythmethod
4/5
An excellent collection of songs in a mildly psychedelic folky soul vein on reliable German label Sonar Kollectiv. Somehow spans the sonic territory between Devendra Bernhart and Fat Freddy’s Drop. Recommended.
ipod essential – Findlay Brown, ‘Losing the Will to Survive (Beyond the Wizard’s Sleeve Reanimation)’

Various
El Nuevo Latina Café Vol 1
Wagram/Border
4/5
While the ‘latino’ factor doesn’t always go much deeper than the use of acoustic guitars, reedy sax and latin percussion, this breezy and ‘up’ collection of quality tracks should inspire further investigations into the roots of salsa.
ipod essential – Gotan Project, ‘El Norte’

Various
Electrolounge
Wagram/Border
4/5
A very solid collection of minimal vocal electro and house tracks, culled from the last few year’s output from (relatively) old hands such as Blaze and Swayzak, and new stars like Trentemoller and Superpitcher.
ipod essential – Etienne Daho, ‘Le Grand Sommeil (Sweetlight Remix)’

Various
Hotel Buddha
Parklane/Southbound
2/5
The press release boasts ‘luxury haute couture music’, and ‘the coolest chilled sounds to melt your soul.’ So, is that hot or cold? Or just insipid? Dance music as interior decorating.
ipod essential – Big Youth, ‘How Do You Feel (Jazzbox Dub Mix)’

Various
Puro Desert Lounge Weekend Vol 1
Seamless/Rhythmethod
3/5
The first disc of this two CD set suffers from being a little too mellow and noodly, but disc 2 picks up the pace with its smooth mix of spacious, spaced out, dubby vocal house.
ipod essential – Ben Westbeech, ‘Hang Around (Karizma’s Kaytronic Dub)’

Richter
Audioexile
Couch Records/Border
3/5
Pleasant Austrian electro pop, split roughly fifty-fifty between vocal and instrumental tracks. Richter writes (constructs?) a good song, from the electrofunk pastiche of ‘Funk is What You Don’t Play’, to the introspective ‘Hurt’. Well produced but perhaps a little inconsequential.
ipod essential – Go to see the Doctor

Dust Galaxy
Dust Galaxy
Emerald Tablet/Shock
3/5
Rob Garza (Thievery Corporation) goes psychedelic indie rock on his solo debut. Predictably, it’s very well produced, but the vocals and the lyrics (Garza’s own) let it down, and the lush, programmed sound doesn’t fit the rocky vibe.
ipod essential – Overhead

Various
Bargrooves Autumn Collection
Seamless/Rhythmethod
2/5
Two more CDs worth of slick and generic soulful deep house (after a while the wall to wall positive vibes are a bit much). Perfectly mixed but offering little in the way of spark or random factor.
ipod essential – Hanna Hais, ‘Jungo (DJ Meme remix)’

Clara Hill’s Folkwaves
Sideways
Sonar Kollektiv/Rhythmethod
3/5
The third solo album from Jazzanova vocalist Clara Hill. It’s a pleasant, largely acoustic listen, but the quality of the production (and of Hill’s voice) often outshines the material itself, a set of jazzy, folky songs often bordering on the trite.
ipod essential – Everything

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