VA: My Favorite Things
Mule Electronic

So what must an imprint do to separate its compilation from the hordes of similarly-styled collections flooding the market? It's actually pretty simple: put together above-average tunes by talented producers and let the music do the rest. That, in a nutshell, is what Mule Electronic's done with its second compilation My Favorite Things, a near-eighty-minute set that brings together contributions from DJ Koze, Lawrence, Loco Dice, and Terre Thaemlitz, among others. The occasionally varied collection emphasizes electronic dance music but also makes room for a few eccentric deviations too. The latter category includes Adolf Noise's (aka DJ Koze) “Nichiyoubi,” a woozy collagistic mélange of cat meows, sickly strings, and slow jazz-lounge beats, and Glowing Glisses' (aka Guido Schneider and Florian Schmeiser) “Bassqueen,” a softly skipping foray into vocal house. Dial Records' Lawrence weighs in with two samplings of his trademark sophisticated electronic dance music, the swinging tech-house sparkler “Sweeping the Stars” and the funkier “Rabbit Tube” which clearly benefits from DJ Koze's deep house makeover. Loco Dice's Minus-styled makeover of Social Material's “Class” is so thorough, no one would guess it's a Thaemlitz original. Throughout its ten-minute run, percussive blips and whirrs rain down upon the skeletal, dub-house groove while a serpentine bass line burrows its way through underground sludge.

Unusual for a compilation, the release's second half is the more delectable, with cuts by Minilogue (the charging “Ghost”) and Tony Lionni (the beautifully funky “Satya”) among the comp's best. In “Harbour Scan,” Hamburg-based Audision contributes a sleek and swinging progressive house cut that's got club colossus written all over it but the arguable peak arrives with Alex Attias's effervescent opus “Brazilika” which oozes a pulsating dub-techno vibe so indelibly documented on Porter Ricks' Chain Reaction classic Biokinetics. If there's a knock against My Favorite Things, it's that a great many tracks (most of which are in the six- to eight-minute range) go on a minute or two longer than necessary. Notwithstanding that caveat, the quality level is solid and a few choice cuts in particular leave lasting impressions.

May 2008