Various Artists – Pampa Vol. 1

Taking a quick break from my 1986 series for something a little brighter, a little better:

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Downloaded this because of DJ Koze (the label’s founder, who contributes two tracks here, and acts as advisor on some others) – the man has a knack for sleeper beats that are more appropriate for the wandering home after the club than for the clubs themselves, and shit, that’s just how I like ‘em. Heavy-hitters like Matthew Herbert and Jamie xx merely sealed the deal. It’s hard to get anyone invested in two hours’ worth of house music though, especially when a lot of stuff here could have been cut to only benefit the package: the hip-hop/electro-funk of Funkstorung’s “I Does It” feels out of place; stuff like Dntel’s “Snowshoe” and Josef’s “I Wonder” are non-entities, as is Mount Kimbie’s “Bells_5” despite fast/heavy shakers (remember when everyone was pushing those guys, around when James Blake landed on the scene?). DJ Koze’s remix of “9 Years” is a disappointment; he stretches the original (found at the end of the package) to twice its length, capitalizing on the original’s synth melody and keeping the coda, but the length is unearned, and the track taking two minutes to start is indicative. And both The Fork and Resident Advisor called Acid Pauli’s “Nana” a highlight, but I didn’t get much out of it aside from a vocal sample spread throughout that recalled Thom Yorke’s whale-song from theKid A days. So here are the good-great songs that I recommend listening to/downloading:

Lianne La Havas – Lost & Found (Matthew Herbert Remix): the melody was so indelible, it had me running to the original which I had not heard of before (and as per usual, it turns out, is quite famous). Matthew Herbert turns Lianne La Havas’ heartache into something completely different, the bass stabs under the original’s choruses shifting the affect. And he cuts up the phrase “When I felt strong enough” by dropping “Enough” and the result sounds more like “And I felt strong,” a phrase with no conditions and pure confidence.

Ada – You and Me: this one’s all about its choruses, the first one appearing at the 2:10 mark, where clips of female-vocal hooks are stitched together (snatches of phrases appear: “Love you, baby”; “I promise…”; “Waiting…”; “Secret…”), and the result is something that’s simply a joy to behold. The rest of the song’s got a good enough beat that you’ll get to those choruses no problem.

Jamie xx & Kosi Kos – Come We Go: this one’s added immediately to my playlist that reworks the flawed In Colour into the promise that we all deserved when Jamie xx released a series of sterling singles for the years preceding it. It’s a match made in heaven: Jamie xx’s capacity for colour combined with DJ Koze (operating under a pen name)’s lush beats; more propulsive than a lot of either artist’s other stuff (even more so than “Gosh”). And DJ Koze’s playfulness gets to shine during the track’s second half where the beat switches (at least, I’m guessing who’s responsible for what); letting a new beat rise from the former’s ashes and jerking it around however he sees fit. Quoting my friend: “the fuck is this shit?” My response: “You have to hear it from the beginning.” My friend’s response: “No thanks.”

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