A celebration of house music doesn't sound all that special, but this is where Buzzin' Fly shines. Watt has gathered together a diverse roster of artists that do a half-decent job of squeezing some new life out of the mundane. On disc one, they do it by adding European-influenced techno to the boompty house beat. It's perhaps best heard on Radio Slave's remix of Mlle Caro & Franck Garcia's "Dead Souls," which is sweeter than chocolate getting in your peanut butter.
5 Golden Years is an affirmation that there is another type of house music, aside from all of those predictable summer comps of tired dreariness. Some of that, of course, is down to Watt's solid ear, which reaches far and wide. That said, though, when Watt dips his toe into the world of pop music, he seems to have lost something. No longer on the cutting edge of the pop world as he was when he provided the beats for Everything But The Girl, the poppier third disc is cuddly, rather than kinetic. How these signings will play out over time remains to be seen, but experience says that reliance on these types of formulas will only hasten the decline into irrelevance.
As a counterpoint to all of this, the second disc is the one that truly bears the closest inspection. Here is a quieter, more intimate affair where Ben Watt stretches out selecting tracks from his label that focus on a broader spectrum of headphone techno and home listening jams. OK, some of this stuff drags like a mofo. But some of it, like John Tejada in Basic Channel mode on his re-working of Jimpster's "Square Up" and especially "Mon Ange" from Mlle. Caro & Franck Garcia, are simply evidence that most of this material is basically a fresh new take on downtempo music. The downtempo scene has been stagnating for years with yuppie angst caused by a wine bar induced lounge hangover. Buzzin' Fly tosses out those tired neo bossa beats and sends listeners some far out deep space techno love.
5 Golden Years in the Wilderness, as you might expect, sees the label playing to their strengths. They are not selling anything new on disc one, just repackaging dance music history for kids starved for something "real," but succeeding wildly on a reputation of quality productions and memorable tracks. The second disc is a stylish gem of new school downtempo that eschews old formulas in favor of something a little more techno with results that both titillate and deliver the goods. The third disc, however, disappointingly apes the structure of disc one but leaves the excitement at home. As Meatloaf might say, though, two out of three ain't bad at all.
- Published /
Tue / 12 Aug 2008
- Words /