British imprint Needwant made a name for itself through its Future Disco/Future Balearica compilation series and house-meets-disco 12-inches, but hasn't released any artist albums until now. Lithuanian producer Mario Basanov's Journey is, fundamentally, a solo variation on the same aesthetics he perfected with fellow countryman Vidis on the album Changed and their singles from last year—in other words, emotive, highly contemplative deep house.
From the get-go, Basanov doesn't waste any time: 30 seconds into Journey and you're greeted by Miss Bee's voluptuous vocals on "Just Think About." This diva-like attitude is also present through the inclusion of former releases such as "Like a Child"—a stirring interpretation courtesy of Athena Radford—or "We Are Child of Love," both gloriously rousing moments of closeness and dance floor efficiency. Only the languorous "Under Your Feet" (featuring the vaguely drowsy presence of Jazzu) and "Something About" (with Edwin Williamson) end up falling on the fathomless end of the deep house spectrum. There is, however, the more pleasing inclusion of the recent Needwant single "Damn Girl," with its clever use of vocalic punctuation.
Annoyingly the 16 cuts (including brief interludes) have barely a second of silence between them, giving the overall impression of a half-segued mix, even though it isn't supposed to be one. But for those in search of a more formal listening experience, there is also a second CD with longer versions of singles such as "We Are Child of Love," "Lonely Days," and the sunny 10-minute long jam "Caribbean Girl." Both sides of this Journey benefit from Basanov never surrendering to the more jazzy inclinations you'll often find in this kind of deep house. Bar "Say What Ya Want" and "High School" (with their playful, upbeat mood), and "Slip Away" (with Rahjwanti recalling Seal circa-"Killer") everything on this album evokes a feeling of being wrapped in vintage caribou fur—temperate and easy-on-the-ear.