VA: My Favorite Things Vol. 2
Mule Electronic

A sequel to the early 2008 first volume, My Favorite Things Vol. 2 continues the celebration of Japanese-based Mule Musiq's fifth birthday with an eighty-minute collection of exclusives and previously-issued vinyl tracks by Isolée, Move D, Lawrence, Strategy, Minilogue, DJ Koze, and others. Such names might suggest that the release is heavily club-oriented but in fact it's anything but a raucous affair, as is immediately intimated by the splendorous seaside ambiance of “Ocean Wave (Across the Wave Mix)” courtesy of deep house artist Kuniyuki under his ambient guise Koss. Though My Favorite Things Vol. 2 is the third Mule Musiq compilation to appear this year (the other two The Definitive Japanese Scene Vol. 1 and Enjoy the Silence recent collections on Mule Musiq and Mule Electronic, respectively), the latest volume (the selections overseen by imprint founder Toshiya Kawasaki) differentiates itself from the others by being both dance-based and languorous in feel—an unusual combination not often encountered.

Dial head Lawrence brings his customary elegant touch to “Jill” (the first single from an upcoming Mule Electronic album) while Ribn (Manuel Tur) sculpts a breezy techno swing in “Lum Lum.” Wiry synth spatter, funk guitar shadings, and cowbells are just some of the sounds littering Isolée's laid-back strut “Albacares” and, as they tend to do with many Minilogue tracks, Sebastian Mullaert and Marcus Henriksson let their jungle-house vamp “My Teenager Gang” unspool for ten-plus minutes. It should be noted that not all of the tracks are laid-back. Move D's “Happylock” kicks ass with a hard-hitting disco-funk slam, and Âme's head-spinning makeover of Koss's “Earth” roars deliriously for nearly eight minutes. Strategy's “My Synthetic Guitar” revisits Paul Dickow's “world house” style for a burning dub-heavy workout that marries a beautiful, low-end bass throb with aquatic house chords. DJ Koze brings his signature imaginative sensibility to the closer “First Snow,” which in some respects builds a bridge between the release's two focal points by gradually morphing its initial dance-oriented attack into something more soft and ambient-like at the end.

June 2009