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Mark Farina

Ministry of Sound Sessions

(Ministry of Sound; US: 18 Jul 2006; UK: 10 Jul 2006)

Well, no point in pussy-footing around: Mark Farina’s turn stepping up to the Ministry of Sound Sessions series is a complete disappointment. The house DJ’s famous for his role in Mushroom Jazz and really maximizing the potential of jazz in house music—and rightly so. But on this bloated double disc, jazz is a crutch that adorns a repetitive, tired house sound. When we have such darkly compelling takes on house as the Knife, not to mention the re-rise of disco and the ubiquitous influence of electro, you know dance music has moved far beyond the nn-tsk nn-tsk driven mid-‘90s techno sound. Farina throws everything he has at this mix—from hip-hop to jazzy melodies to fragments of spoken word (this last the most common, as on the cut-up acid talk of Nick Chacona’s “Pool Party”). But throughout, the straining-to-be-free tracks can’t kick this helplessly monotonous beat. On “Going to a Show” by 12, it’s the glitches of minimal techno subverted by the house beat; on Late Night Society’s “Rebalance” it’s Lindstrom-esque space disco subverted by the same. Homero Espinosa’s “Can You Feel Me?” comes closest, with a syncopated percussive effect and vocals tripping over each other in confusion. Farina’s own tracks are no standouts either: echoing with one-note calls of “house”, he seems to be grasping at an idol who’s callously turned the other way.

Rating:

Dan Raper has been writing about music for PopMatters since 2005. Prior to that he did the same thing for his college newspaper and for his school newspaper before that. Of course he also writes fiction, though his only published work is entitled "Gamma-secretase exists on the plasma membrane as an intact complex that accepts substrates and effects intramembrane cleavage". He is currently studying medicine at the University of Sydney, Australia.


Tagged as: mark farina
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