Various - Sixteen F**king Years Of G-Stone RecordingsBack when the fluffy mongrel known as "downtempo" was popularly referred to as "trip-hop," many of its practitioners made music with dusty jazz horn loops, heavy drums and an air of very stoned, very serious contemplation. G-Stone, the label run by Peter Kruder and Richard Dorfmeister, was a little different; they knew being stoned was silly, and that was often what was good about it—not unlike Ninja Tune, only sleeker and fleeter, less silly, and more freewheeling. And, decisively, more Euro and far less b-boy, even after a fashion. And while that meant fewer po-faced tributes to "realness" (hear, hear), it could also mean an airiness that often equates to the music just evaporating away.
That's somewhat the case with the Thirteen F**king New Tracks half of Sixteen F**king Years of G-Stone Recordings. (Not sure why they're celebrating that number rather than something divisible by f**king five.) There are moments that grab and hold for sure: Rodney Hunter's propulsive, bringing-'88-back "Tell Me," the frisky dubstep wobble of D Kay's "Red Heat," Marsmobil piling on the bass for "Patience," the unhurried soundtrack-ready second half of "Sional" by Peace Orchestra. But they're moments above all; they don't cohere into the kind of overview that's ready to convince an audience that G-Stone is still doing exciting new things as a label.
The best parts of the Twelve F**king Classics disc are an easier sell—they had better be, right? The sequencing isn't much; there's no particular point being made, no sense that history needed redrawing just this minute and that these are just the tracks to do it. Cuts like Tosca's 1996 "Fuck Dub Pt. 1 & 2," which recalibrated the Mo' Wax sound into something a little more gliding, and Urbs' "So Weit," with its half-campy, half-delicate, music-box-like high piano roll, and DJ DSL's sparkly and strange "Happy Bear" make their own context. There's more R&B here than I'd expected, as well: Rodney Hunter's "No Stoppin'" demonstrates a surprising amount of fealty to fusion-laced late-'70s R&B, and Stereotyp's "Keepin' Me" is a ghostly, bewitching take on vocal-harmony group slow jams. But the lax presentation takes everything into the ether with it.
Two producers/djs/remixers whose distinctive trademark sound is at most times extremely mellow, has a lot of bass, downbeat tracks and a sense of epic soundscapes. There might be the occasional double-time breaks and the heavy and deep typically viennese feeling.
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