Roman Flügel: Live at Robert Johnson Vol. 5
Live at Robert Johnson

The average mix undergoes constant metamorphosis as one artist's track supplants another's. Despite being fifteen tracks deep and featuring the usual broad assortment of participating artists, Roman Flügel's Live at Robert Johnson set appears to hew to a much straighter course than do most mixes. That's largely because Flügel anchors the mix (his first mix CD, by the way) with a rock-steady 4/4 groove that pretty much threads itself through all seventy-two minutes of the mix. There's no shortage of contrasts in what transpires overtop of that pulse, however. Following a restrained, dub-inflected beginning, the mix goes deeper and gets funkier with the advent of Itzon's “Azul Magico” before Flügel himself lets a little acid seep in with his own “N.M.I.S.M.D.” Things heat up when Sharvette soulfully pontificates on the status of women during the jacking funk of Armando's “Don't Take It,” after which the mix roars into banging territory with Molex's “Kick C” and Nail's bumping house colossus “Optimus.”

A beautiful breakdown occurs halfway through in the form of Idioma's “Landscapes,” all sparkling melodies and entrancing atmosphere, before Forevereaction's beats-heavy workout “U People” transports us back to the old-school drum machine/boom box days of the ‘80s, and Maetrik's “Show Me” and Soylent Green's (just one of Flügel's many alter egos) sputtering “Humpty Acid” return us to the mix's general acid-house funk vibe. Flügel keeps the mix stoked as it enters its final laps with the raw throb of Soulphiction's “Rise” before setting his sights upon the upper spheres in his own closer “Brian Le Bon.” Interestingly, the heavily synthesized track is the most future-oriented of all the tunes on the mix, so its placement at mix's end seems like the best place for it. Elevated by a lovely theme that'd do Kraftwerk proud and buoyed by a bubbly, percolating pulse, “Brian Le Bon” guides the mix home incandescently.

May 2010