Like other smooth house mixes (such as a Naked Music compilation), D’Julz Box functions best as chill-out background sound or as uplifting dance music. If you sit around and listen too closely, you’ll be bored by the repetitive loops and consistent tempo. But for what it is, D’Julz’s mix works very nicely. And that’s as a deft, generally radiant mix that would fit in perfectly at a blissed-out house party. Not only are the tracks slick selections, D’Julz mixes them so proficiently you might not even notice the transition between several of the tracks. This ability to blend sounds is the highlight of the album, and shows the kind of skill many a DJ can only dream of.
Much of Box is packed with breezy tracks that glide ever so nicely over one’s ears, and the album kicks off in this spirit, easing the listener into the mix with Glissandro Bros.’ “Do It”, which works gently into a bass-kick driven sound. The front end of the album is packed with similar tracks that bask in cheery house samples, from the ubiquitous claps and vocals repeating, “the music”, over-and-over on Summer Spectrum’s “Sol Patrol (Migs Transporters Vive)” to DJ Q’s irresistibly dance-able beats on “Optimum Thinking”. Other high notes include An Der Beat’s “Funk! Knuf (Jii-Hoo Ximer Jori Hulkkonen remix)” and Colourful Karma’s “For the Music (Mandrax dub)”, again with oh-so-happy vocals repeating such little treasures as “if it wasn’t for the music”.
And then, when your brain is glazed over from all the sugary house fun, Box turns in a dark direction with Bushwacka!‘s “Healer (Tek mix)” (“whatever keeps you from screaming out in sheer terror at this very moment”), moving through a series of dark, hard-hitting tracks. At first this choice of material seems a bit questionable (you trying to ruin our high, buddy?), but once D’Julz breaks back into the smooth house, it shines that much brighter. And Box does close on quite the high note with Cevin Fisher’s “Music Saved My Life (Freezy Jam remix)”, which gives us lines like, “If it wasn’t for the music, I don’t know what we’d do / I’ve got to thank God for the music.” I hear you, brother.
While Box won’t score high points for eclectic selections or innovative material, it is a slickly done, very dance-friendly mix. And that’s what you’re looking for in a compilation like this anyway, right? This kind of house mix feels pretty done at this point, but when you’re having this much fun, it’s hard to complain. Just like a night of partying, it starts off fun, gets a little weird and freaky at points, but when it’s all said and done, it was worth the journey.
// Notes from the Road
"On release day for their latest Big Mess, Grouplove packed Baby's in Brooklyn for a sweaty show.READ the article