Julius Papp: Neodisco 1: Gotta Keep Movin'

Tim O'Neil

Julius Papp

Neodisco 1: Gotta Keep Movin'

Label: Neodisco
US Release Date: 2004-06-01
UK Release Date: Available as import

Is there anything in the world more satisfying than a good house mix? Well, yeah, probably quite a few things, now that you mention it -- but that's beside the point. A good house mix is still a very special treat.

In the greater scheme of things, a house CD fulfills a specific function in the world of electronic music. Whereas mix CDs in other genres can and do represent different things for whatever one of many musical subcultures are represented, in the world of house music a mix CD is almost always created with the express aim of duplicating the experience of a night out at the clubs.

Of course, the problem here is a familiar one to anyone who has ever actually been out to the clubs: sometimes the DJ is hot, sometimes not. It's the luck of the draw as much as anything else. Sometimes a bad DJ can have a good night, sometimes a great DJ can have a horrible set. Likewise with mix CDs -- sometimes a set that looks great on paper can fall totally flat in the confines of the home listening experience.

Julius Papp's Gott Keep Movin' is neither bad nor great, but merely good in an unambitious way. As with a lot of house music, listening to this mix on your home (or car) stereo imparts the vague feeling that something is missing. That something, in any event, is a huge wall of booming subs buffered by a crowd of hundreds of intoxicated revelers getting' on down with they bad selves. But, such is life. I don't necessarily need to get mauled by a bunch of thrashing gutterpunks when I listen to the Candy Snatchers, but there's definitely something to be said for atmosphere.

The mix gets off to a strong start with one of Papp's own tracks, "Voodoo Beats pt. 4", a rather interesting mix of traditional funky house elements with strong orchestral asides and a strong vocal, over a shuffling pseudo-African beat. Things get smoother with the next track, the Loveslap Gets Closer mix of Goapele's "Closer". It's a bit more sultry, definitely one for the Naked Music fans.

The JJK Club Mix of the Audiowhores' "Nekoosa" ads a more spirited Chicago flavor. A harder, almost Detroit beat (listen to that high snare) buoys the repetitive synth chords that offset the occasional sexy female Latin vocal. The next track, Papp's "Early Departure", could have easily been featured on Blaze's recent Found Love mix, with its' samba-influenced beat and very retro (albeit very snazzy) keyboard noodles.

The more theatrical and disco-influenced vein of modern vocal house is well represented by Hardsoul and Ron Carroll's "Back Together", a textbook example of the kind of timeless male performance that never seems to go out of style. Things get a bit more jazzy with the Galaxy People's "A Mystical Journey", featuring one of the funkiest flute solos this side of Yusef Lateef. (This track definitely gets a demerit, however, for the use of some really annoying stereo effects -- when will people learn that messing with the stereo channels is just annoying?).

Another of Papp's tracks, "Feel the Rhythm", features some funky breakbeat elements over a rather boilerplate funky house scheme. Charles Spencer's "Board Meeting" conjures up mental images of a more electro-fied Detroit sound, a bit similar to what you would expect to hear if Masters at Work remixed Model 500.

The mix ends with the one-two punch of Miguel Migs' "Do It For You" (featuring Li'Sha on vocals) and yet another track by Papp, "Drum de Voodoo pt. 2". It only makes sense that Migs is spotlighted in the album's penultimate selection: the all-encompassing smoothness of the Naked sound is very much a kindred spirit to the kind of straight-ahead sultry house Papp spins on Gotta Keep Movin'.

There are a few standout tracks, but nothing to set your hair on fire. The overall impression is one of a terrific, if studied, competence. I have a feeling that if Papp played this exact same set down at the local bar it would sound wonderful, but on its' own as a mix CD it feels rather limpid.

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