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Various Artists, Blueprints 3 (Slip'n'Slide Blue)
What a nice surprise. The Blueprints series has been impressive but a bit too dour and determinedly broken-beatish for my taste. This set (mixed by the estimable Aloha Pussycats) has real coherence and more of a deep, jazzy house vibe to it. And it works. Whether it's the tasty brass on (pause for breath) Jori Hulkonnen's jazz acid mix of Olli Ahvenalahti's "Countenance", which is almost free-jazzhouse in places, or the charming vocals on Gaspard's "Good Enough", the journey through the more ambitious (and mostly European) end of dancefloor discernment is a constant delight. The beats vary, which adds interest, but do not jar, which keeps things flowing. The artists involved are the cream of the crop. Fish Go Deep, Atjazz, Swag, Nu Spirit Helsinki, Lisa Shaw, and John Beltran are the most familiar and give a good indication of the aesthetic being pursued here. NSH's "Trying" and Q-Burns/Lisa Shaw's "This Time" have instant appeal; others (like "Countenance" or Fish Go Deep's "Dollface") are growers. The closing, exclusive, "Sunrise" from Worldless (Phil Asher?) is both "old school" anthemic and tech-house futuristic, and rounds off as satisfying an hour or so of contemporary dance as you will find anywhere. More please.