VA: All Night Long
Aus Music

A compelling argument for the quality of the Aus Music imprint, the double-disc All Night Long pairs a set of new and exclusive originals with a DJ mix by Will Saul that draws from the label's back catalogue. If the two halves don't form the most cohesive whole imaginable, they certainly do argue convincingly for the diversity of the label's offerings.

Disc one ranges widely, with its thirteen tracks referencing funk, house, dub, techno, disco, electro, and even dubstep, and is solid from start to finish, even if its first half is stronger overall. Opening the disc with a buoyant amalgam of post-rock and electropop, Sideshow's “Television” sprints light-footedly though not so fast that Cortney Tidwell's sultry vocal can't keep up. Sounding at times reminiscent of an instrumental take on Blondie's “Atomic,” Roland Appel's “Snow in Springtime” weds a house piano melody with a raw, guitar-spiked disco groove. Sian's “Siamese Cat” delivers a dreamy exercise in tech-house brimming with enveloping synth pads and pulsating rhythms while Shur-I-Kan's “Tubular” serves up a laid-back electro-house jam perfect for dancing under the summer stars. Pearson Sound's breezily soulful “Indelible” drops some mesmerizing drum patterning into its percussion-heavy bump. Martyn's deeply grooving “For Lost Relatives” is bolstered by a mid-song synth episode as well as huge bass thrust and melancholy piano treatments while his closing “Electric Purring” warms dubstep rhythms with smooth electro-house styling. In addition, Brooks' funky “IWANCHU” features Robert Owens-style vocalisms, Lawrence offers a predictably elegant overhaul of Lee Jones's “Aria,” Appleblim & Ramadanman deliver a sleek, ten-minute foray into deep house music in “Sous Le Sable,” and Will Saul & Tam Cooper weigh in with the soulful cut “Heartwave.”

Though the mix disc is the less essential of the two, Saul works its selections into a laid-back and seductive set that has a strong house focus. Highlights include remixes of Lee Jones's “There Comes a Time” and “Soon” by Prins Thomas and The Mole respectively, the former a lush, dubbed-out treatment and the latter slinkier and woozier by comparison. Motorcitysoul infuses the mix with a decidedly Detroit-styled vibe in two tracks, the tech-house banger “Kazan (Exit Cube)” (its exotic synth theme perhaps the disc's most insidious hook) and the luscious closer “Space Katzle” while the set's dubbier side moves to the fore in Chateau Flight's rendering of Sideshow's “If Alone.” Jones, in fact, is all over disc two as seven of the fifteen tracks are either composed by him (in addition to the two mentioned, there's “Every Click Matters,” “The Secret,” “Aria,” a jaunty Stimming remix of “Safari,” and the Saul-Jones co-production “Hug the Scary”) or are remixes (of Sideshow's “Philly Soundworks”). The sensual swing of “The Secret” is emblematic of the disc's overall vibe while “Aria,” elevated by its sinuous synth melodies, exemplifies the mix's stripped-down side.

July 2009