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?
// Notes from the Road
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