Various Artists - Jump Start 2 (2011)

Various Artists

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Around this time last year I highly recommended a compilation album entitled Jump Start by Ginger Tony on the Soul Unsigned label, which jump started my weekend when I put it on the stereo.  Hopefully you picked up that album, because I am pleased to say that Jump Start 2 picks up where the other left off. How do I describe this compilation? It's not exactly eclectic, it's not a dance album, funk, Brazilian or jazz album either; rather it's a melange of all of this.  Like Tina Turner said at the start of "Proud Mary," the beginning is "easy" but the finish is "rough," or in this case, vigorous. 

Around this time last year I highly recommended a compilation album entitled Jump Start by Ginger Tony on the Soul Unsigned label, which jump started my weekend when I put it on the stereo.  Hopefully you picked up that album, because I am pleased to say that Jump Start 2 picks up where the other left off. How do I describe this compilation? It's not exactly eclectic, it's not a dance album, funk, Brazilian or jazz album either; rather it's a melange of all of this.  Like Tina Turner said at the start of "Proud Mary," the beginning is "easy" but the finish is "rough," or in this case, vigorous. 

The compilation starts very soulful with Seductive Souls' "Is This Love," which features the vocals of Michael Arkk.  It's a gentle opener and not indicative of how the rest of the compilation is, which is quite refreshing.  Arkk's vocals remind me of Cee-Lo with a tinge of Aaron Neville, which adds a richness to the track about whether all the things he is experiencing are love or not.  Whilst I enjoyed that the song, the same couldn't be said for the next song, "Northern Comfort" by Dr Rubberfunk.  Moving away from the soulful vibe that had been created in the opening track, the remix put on this compilation was a crime which goes under the category known as murderation.  In this case a perfectly good soul track with horns and beats which harken back to yesteryear has a dance beat thrown over it and extended to twice its original length.  Whilst Ginger Tony did not create the remix, I do question what its place is on this compilation, as when listened to in the light of the whole album it still falls short.  Thankfully the natural order is restored with the next track, "June" by London's Gizelle Smith, who brings a slightly raw and retro sound. 

From here the compilation changes again, and this is where I feel Ginger Tony comes into his element, and I believe he really enjoyed compiling the album.  There are the Brazilian nuances of Diesler's "Samba Magic," the infectious house beats of Inaya Day and Ralf GUM's "Lose My Worries" and the crooning jazz style of Milano Jazz Dance featuring Felix on "Goodbye." 

Apart from a couple of tracks the rest of the album is really a collection of enjoyable cuts to move to.  For me, the Jephte Guillame remix of "Weak" by Monday Michiru was the track of this compilation; 100% dynamite.  It reminded me of the house music scene in the 90s, where the beat was hard, deep and almost tribal.  Michiru's vocal is light and haunting over the driving beat, and the near 8 minutes was still not enough for me; if anything I was left weak wanting more. 

For fans of nu-jazz there are a number of choices on this compilation; I really enjoyed "The Birds Like It" by Tape Five.  If you liked Brenda Boykin's style on the last compilation, then this song is a must for you.  It's fast paced and musically punchy, but it also has smooth jazz lounge vocals by Iain Mackenzie, which make it a musical delight. 

Other musical highlights on this compilation are Papik's "Staying For Good," Soopsoul's relationship reminding "Brand Nu." and the slightly dark and sexy bass line of Renegades of Jazz's "Karabine."  What I enjoy about this album and everything else from the Soul Unsigned label it that it reminds me actually how small the world is, when it comes to talking to each other through music.  The array of countries that the music comes from always blows me away, as it all sounds so fresh and exciting and not out of place (unless it's a murderation).  Germany, France, Nigeria, United Kingdom, Italy and Japan are a few examples of where these artists hail from on this compilation.  I genuinely liked about 85% of this album, and enjoyed the fast pace and variations to the tracks.  This album leans very heavily to the dance genre rather than soul; in fact, the album may have been more powerful as a complete dance compilation rather than one that includes a soul cut here and there. I hope that on the next compilation the international summit of dance tracks continues, especially the nu-jazz and tribal beats; however until then I'll enjoy this thoroughly. Recommended. 

By Ricardito

 

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