[14 May 2009]
PopMatters Associate Music Editor
Founded in 1991, New York City’s Nervous Records helped establish the sound of NYC house music. To celebrate the label’s 18th birthday, founder Michael Weiss turned the back catalog over to DJ/producer Marlon D, who then paired tracks with remixers turned the whole thing into one continuous mix. To Marlon D’s credit, he hasn’t gone for anything too radical or overly-ambitious. There aren’t any glitch, IDM, or drum’n'bass makeovers here. Instead, the 13 tracks celebrate the bright, energetic, pop-influenced sound that made the label famous. 83 West’s remix of Kim English’s “Learn 2 Luv” is still diva house at its most brash, while Byron Stingily’s “Keep Love Going” is essentially gospel with a disco beat. A few tracks, such as Kenny Dope’s mix of Joi Cardwell’s “People Make the World Go Round”, are relatively subdued and jazzy, though you’d never mistake them for mood music. Nervous Nitelife provides a nice counterpoint to all the dour “minimalism” that’s going on these days, but the originals are still tough to beat.