Various Artists: Happy 2B Hardcore Chapter Six: the Final Chapter
I think by now we're all agreed that disco never died. Despite the strident well-publicized calls for its death by homophobes and metalheads, and a brutal whipping by the the early '80s music market, the genre just dug itself in and catered to its permanent audience: sexy, drug-addled party people. From Chicago house to Manchester rave, disco collapsed into a variety of compelling splinters. It's curious to think that orchestral hooks, metronomic beats, and anonymous divas have become a niche market, rather than the populist form disco once promised us. Hell, now even rave is slowly fading. Yet Homo ludens will always be out there, sucking on its pacifier, crunching on its candy necklace, refusing to chill out. Let's give a hearty thanks to the good folks at Moonshine Music, and especially to DJ Anabolic Frolic, for taking the hardcore rave tracks off the dance floor and putting them into your very own home with the wonderful Happy 2B Hardcore series, which has just released its concluding installment, Happy 2B Hardcore Chapter Six: the Final Chapter. In this poignant denouement to a quality rave series, the smiley faces on the cover are all entirely dark. Yet the grooves within are a furious, nonstop ode to joy. Featuring 10 unreleased tracks and a typically tight anaerobic mix by Anabolic Frolic, the disc tops its predecessors and closes out an era in ace form.
It's impossible to review a disc like this without dancing to it -- the songs serve no other function -- so that's what I did. I learned that 140 BPM is an ideal speed, since anything slower will just reveal your physical limitations. And the intoxicating bliss of getting sucker-punched by speed-tracked divas shouting about euphoria, dreams, toys, and flying high -- you don't need to drop Ecstasy in order to get the feeling. It's escapism with one leg on the ground, and you'll love every second even if you've never hit the clubs. Be sure to invite your downstairs neighbors over first, though.
The highlights include "Drift on a Dream" by Kaos and Ethos (which substitutes an exhilarating tempo shift for the usual dance polyrhythms), "Toy Town" by Hixxy & Sharkey (eighties preschool hooks cloaking a furious beat), "Influence" by DJ Slam & Helix (the most manipulative piano I've ever heard), and "Flying High" by DJ UFO & Stu J (a diva negotiates her way through some serious noise). But the mortar tracks that hold these bricks together will keep you moving, and you won't ever want to check your watch. Check out Breeze Feat's "Jump a Little Higher", Ham & DNA's "About U", or Hixxy's "Come Together" for a serious tap into the blood-red vein of rapture we all secretly hope for when we listen to music. When the disc is over -- 15 tracks and 74 minutes later -- you'll be sweatier and happier than ever.