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Various Artists

Bargrooves Black Vol. 2

(Seamless Recordings; US: 20 Feb 2007; UK: 11 Sep 2006)

The second installment of Bargrooves Black establishes early on an entirely conventional “groove” sound—soul-infused, low-tempo House seasoned with varying degrees of electro, disco and tech. You know, the usual. Well, the two discs of this set present a bigger, clubbier sound than you might expect for one of those cocktail groove mixes—fitting well with Black‘s “edgier” image. However, as far as dance mixes go this is a pretty tame affair. There are few surprises—the second disc’s a more fluid, darker and more understated version of the first—but here and there a few tracks pop out of the fabric. Ame’s “Rej” has a different, click-heavy beat and is an unexpected pleasure; instead of following the usual crescendo-cut out-climax, the track fades out gracefully to near silence. The mixing’s fluid, if not seamless: between the Beginerz’ “Ape Stalking” (which has a great horn breakdown that’s gotta be from one of those classic Hollywood movies—yeah, cos of the title I’m thinking King Kong) and G-Club’s “Fluid” is a masterclass for aspiring DJs. But because all these beats, confluent synth loops and bits and pieces of cut-up vocals are so similar it all gets a bit predictable, and during Terry Lee Brown Jnr’s “Fix Me Up” on the first disc, or Stockholm’s “Go Bang” on the second, you find yourself thinking, when will this one be over?

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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.


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