Various Artists: Club Bogaloo: Unlimited Freestyles Out of Nowhere
Club Bogaloo is a German dance hall located in Bavaria. Reinhard Wimmer and DJ Marcus Hacker created it in the '90s when the two formed a duo known as Spinning Wheel. Spinning Wheel mixed up acid jazz, funk, old jazz, and dance floor jazz to create their own club grooves. After a successful run in the local clubs, Wimmer and Hacker turned an old local cinema in the fashionable Club Bogaloo. This new CD collects previously unreleased and exclusive material by artists who have played or will play at Bogaloo.
Not that this is your standard techno, house, or acid jazz fare. Instead, it is what is termed "NuJazz". Like the "nu metal" genre, NuJazz takes previous elements of the main genres from which it was born and mixes them into an all-new sound. Or so one would think from the hype. In actuality, NuJazz has a great beat, some tasty bass parts, and enough eclectic melodicism to keep your feet moving and your head bobbing. It's not that far removed from its acid jazz and funk parents. It makes no difference because Club Bogaloo the CD is a keeper all around.
As this is definitely the work of all the separate artists included here, this album is not a continuously mixed work, like some DJ albums can sometimes be. This is certainly a plus for this collection, as each track here deserves to stand on its own, rather than be mixed into some playlist that renders it generic. Rogall kicks things off with his piece, "Hi-Tech". A better track couldn't have been selected to start the disc. Amidst a funky scatted vocal sample, analog bass backing, electric piano and funky breaks, "Hi-Tech" provides a palpable energy that runs throughout this collection.
DJ Michael Rutten, otherwise known as Soulpatrol delivers on the Latin-infused "Release Your Mind". Plenty of solid percussion and modulating bass loop make of the first half of the track before giving way to some great piano vamping that illustrates what differences there are between NuJazz and its parental Acid Jazz. The vibrancy that is produced when the piano and percussion parts mix together is outright refreshing in a genre that can often lose its respectability by trying to play itself off as too cool at times.
Landslide's "Subtraction" mixes drum & bass with two step beats for an interesting aural collage that swells and bleeps with ecstatic amounts of Hi-NRG that makes for another fascinating original sound that smoothly distances itself from the contemporaries. Club Bogaloo is certainly onto something here. Domu's lush "Down The Line" adds another facet to the scene's sound with rich funk textures that further implement the drum & bass and just a touch of Detroit funky breaks.
If you want flat out gorgeous, then just listen to Space Clique's "Continue the Journey" with its supple atmospherics, tasty bass textures, breakbeats, and pretty vocals by jazz singer Marzenka from Munich. The simmering "Down and Out" by Boozoo Bajou keeps up the slow grooves. Tranquil vibraphone work mixed with some dub overtones make the track one of the best here.
"People Getting' High" by Les Gammas injects a bit of the tropical groove the proceedings. Absolutely perfect percussive parts frame a hypnotic melody line explored on the flue as a percolated bass line bubbles in the background and electric piano chords melt slowly away as scatted vocal parts join the flautist. Wild. Almost like a supremely mellow Funkadelic.
After all these lush sounds, Spinning Wheel take a track themselves with "Sunshine in My Soul" featuring Violetta Parsini on vocals. The swing beats incorporate with Parsini's singing while bass and keyboard notes work together in sporadic bursts to complete the picture. More vibraphone doodles add the break, mixing everything into a beautifully swirled bit of funky atmosphere. Following that, the exquisite Druckwelle keep up the funk with their excellent "Slum Creeper" that is hands-down the best track on this disc. Amidst a whirring beat, swelling tones and bouncing bass, Druckwelle create a flourish of musical colors that carry the listener away on its euphoric vibrations.
Closing out with Meitz's freaky "Phasen" that scatters about in every which way to paint its picture and the cinematic "Laguna City Swing" by Loungechic Productions, Club Bogaloo proves itself to be one of the year's best entries into the electronic / DJ / acid / NuJazz / whatever you'd care to call it genre. This is Spinning Wheel's first domestic release in the States, and to miss out on this collection would be a sad thing, indeed. You don't need to be a prior fan of any of the styles found on this disc. Club Bogaloo is simply just a collection of great music from top to bottom.