Behrouz: Pure Behrouz NYC 2xCD (Nervous)(US)
Nervous Records returns with a high quality mix from the always-versatile DJ Behrouz – who on this double disk collection shows off his solid technical skills and deep, deep crates. Beyond being smoothly mixed Pure Behrouz NYC is a textbook example of how to play great house music that combines elements of old and new while still keeping a big room vibe, yet perfectly suited for home or car stereo listening.
In terms of programming, disk one focuses on subtlety, building slowly. It perfectly captures the club zeitgeist of the moment-imminently groovy bass lines alongside rich melodies that owe nothing to the much-maligned trance era’s simpleton bombast. Instead think of Buzzin’ Fly, Manuel Tur, or Milton Jackson in terms of comparisons with the same use of dubby bass lines, deep house filters, and memorable melodic hooks tying them all together.
On disk two Behrouz flies the techno flag without abandoning his obvious love of melody established on the first disk. That helps to tie the mixes together and make them part of a cohesive whole, something most DJs (even the big names) are just too lazy to attempt and yet adds so much. The mix itself is minimal but housy with some slight Miami and Latin house flavor. Again if you are fishing for comparisons, look to Luciano orJoris Voorn, both of whom make an appearance here.
What really seals the deal on Pure Behrouz NYC are how easily the tracks fit together and grow on you without being cheesy or obvious, the sugary melodies that never get overplayed or nauseating, and how nicely both disks work on the dance floor as well as in the headphones at home. This is a well-crafted mix in era that doesn’t show much concern for such things and for that alone I say thanks.
Howie B. vs Casino Royale: Not In The Face (Howie’s/Fabric)(UK)
To give you a little background, Howie B. is a Scottish mega-producer who has produced Bjork and U2, to name two of his biggest clients. His work is always jaw dropping, transcending dub, downtempo, trip hop, electronica or any other silly labels folks have tried to yoke the guy with.
Casino Royale is a five piece combo that is very popular in Italy, Howie first met them back in 1997 while touring with U2 (the group was the opening act in Italy) and found immediate kinship in their fusion of sound-a mix of ska, funk, and drum & bass. In 2006 he produced an album by the combo entitled Reale, which spanned the group’s two decade long career.
Knowing full well the album was made for the Italian market, Howie nonetheless contacted the band after Reale‘s release and asked them about radically re-conceptualizing the album with a bit of the Howie B. signature flare and the results were this album, Not In The Face.
The album is instantly likable with Howie’s recognizable dark dub and scratchy electronics taking center stage. However what elevates the album is the source material from Casino Royale who somehow manage to balance what my German friend Harry used to call “gypsy jazz” (i.e. the euro equivalent of the Dead) with a sort of Captain Beefheart post-everything sensibility. It’s fun, it’s weird, and best of all Howie B. manages to capture that spontaneity for something a little different.