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Tom Findlay and Tim "Love" Lee, Sounds Good in the Nude (Shadow/Tummy Touch)
If Tom Findlay's half of this double-disc house/funk/downtempo cocktail had been released on its own, it would've made my top ten list for 2003. Findlay, of Groove Armada fame, mines the deep catalog of London's Tummy Touch Records for 14 funky, leftfield gems, every one of them serving as proof that house music is not getting as stale as you might think -- there are just aren't enough DJs out there playing stuff this deliciously offbeat. Cousin Grizzly's spooky but insanely danceable "Centrefold" and Crazy Penis' remix of Breakdown's bouncy "First of All", with its loopy, George Clintonian doo-wop bridge, are the major highlights, but there's really not an ounce of slack in Findlay's selections, which he blends together so well that it takes ten listens to spot some of his trickery. The same cannot be said of Tummy Touch honcho Tim "Love" Lee's downtempo disc two, which starts off promisingly with Dolphin Boy's dreamy, gorgeous "On the Ceiling" but then quickly loses steam with an unfocused set that sounds interesting on paper -- with doses of postmodern mod-pop (the Supreme Beings of Leisure soundalikes Chungking), porno funk (Los Chicarrons' "Summer Fever"), and ambient glitch-hop (Revolvo's "Knocking Shop") -- but fails to inspire in practice. Still, you have to give Lee and Tummy Touch major props for putting out so much eclectic, risk-taking music, and for snaring a major talent like Findlay to showcase it so skillfully.