Thursday, June 2, 2005
Compositions 3 | Female Fun Records
The third in a series of six-track instrumental EPs by the Brooklyn based DJ Spinna (formerly of the Jigmastas), Compositions 3 is primarily meant for a DJ’s 12” vinyl crate, but it’s also available on CD for the non-turntable-inclined. In Spinna’s typically chilled out style, these joints work just as well for a nightly lounging soundtrack, or an amateur practice freestyle session.
Props to the beatmeister Spinna for his classy artful minimalism and his simple solid-colored covers, but for a general format release, some more substance wouldn’t hurt. Like most basic beat loops, there’s not much going on: tracks like “Avenue” provide a mellow, heady backdrop, but it’s hardly stimulating enough to stand alone for four minutes. “Edge” picks up the tempo a bit, but the excitement is short-lived without any deviation of the beat.
Better off in this collection are “Amadeus,” which mixes in an intermittent double-fast bass to keep your attention drawn, and “Willing,” the perfect setup for a freestyle jam. Overall, there’s a warmly familiar tone to most of the tracks. (BS)
House of Om | Om Records
Just in time for those long hot nights of the summer season, Om Records is celebrating the addition of Carlos Sosa aka DJ Sneak to their extended family with a new series, House of Om. Forget chill or downtempo, winter and spring—this first volume is perfect thing to whet your appetite for summer clubbing. Even if you think you’re too old for raves, this set sounds awfully fresh.
Starting off with a brisk a capella vocal scat track that’s catchy enough to get your head nodding, Sneak subtly merges into the house tempo, and by the time the bass kicks in on the second track, you’re already caught up in a hardcore club grove. Sneak’s trademark funkiness shines through his eclectic collection of tracks—from melodic techno bleeps on Lil’ Mark’s “Life is a Dream,” to straight-up cool sax line in Roomsa’s “November Jazz”—and the mood stays on point. He pulls back at the right moments, lightening the pulse enough for a breather after the industrial pounding of “Werk It,” but drives ahead when the time is right. When the music fades out at the disc’s end, you can’t help but wish for another endless night at the club. (BS)
Ocean of Confusion | Epic/Legacy
Punk rock never happened, or so one would think were one in Seattle in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. For all of the foofarah about “the year punk broke” being attributed to Nirvana, every other major group from the Pacific Northwest at the time was mining the lode of slightly amped-up Brit blooze, with Alice in Chains assuming the Tull mantle. These guys were equally in thrall to that era, with Mark Lanegan’s strep throaty vocals aiming for the kind of raspy roar one associates with Paul Rodgers, not to mention a heavy dose of gloomy psych, a la Doors or Spooky Tooth.
Even though they were 15-20 years too late on the psuedo-mystical bus, they made compelling music based on simple chord movement and repetitive, muted guitar figures. And even though they broke through an indifferent public’s semi-rejection of Lanegan’s poetry but once (with “Nearly Lost You”), they left some unreleased tracks that actually stand tall with everything else they did, the best of which is “Watchpocket Blues,” heard here for the first time. This is worth checking out. (JA)