VA: Southern Fried & Tested 2: Mixed by Nathan Detroit
Southern Fried

Norman Cook (aka Fatboy Slim) launched Southern Fried Records in 1994 as an outlet for his various studio projects (Mighty Dub Katz, The Plased Wimmin, Freak Power) but, as the large number of artists featured on the its latest compilation makes clear, the label has expanded far beyond that original concept since its founding.

Though the label's own Nathan Detroit squeezes sixty-seven tracks into the seventy-nine-minute mix, the set holds together amazingly well as a shape-shifting travelogue that's kaleidoscopic, yes, but also surprisingly coherent. All of the material comes from the Southern Fried roster with originals by Armand Van Helden, Cagedbaby, Crookers, and Dusty Kid dominating the track list, and remix duties handled by Serge Santiago, Radio Slave, Drop The Lime, Claude Von Stroke, and Detroit himself, among others. Singling out a track or two doesn't make much sense when most are little more than one-minute fragments spliced into the mix; it makes considerably more sense to describe the impact the set has as a whole. The set exudes a turbo-charged, “controlled chaos” vibe and a breathless style that might be characterized as “wacked-out funk-house”; cut-up vocals and bleepy melodies sail over galloping grooves in many cuts, while others are acid-drenched (e.g., Proper Villains' “Trick Baby”) and crunk-inflected (Drop The Lime's re-rub of Armand Van Helden's “Shake That Ass”). Armand Van Helden's “Hear My Name” gets multiple treatments (by Serge Santiago, Solid Groove Remix, Dusty Kid), while Radio Slave tackles remixes of Cagedbaby's “16 Lovers” and “Hello There.” Highlights? Malente's “Music Forvever” (where a vocal snippet of Kraftwerk's “Musique Non-Stop” surfaces), Touche's “Vampires” (which exudes an appropriately gothic vibe), Paul Woolford's remix of Myomi's “Sun In My Eyes” (where a soulful female vocalist wails over a heavily synthesized storm), Deadstock 33's' shuffler “Bounce Pop,” Claude Von Stroke's funky overhaul of Mighty Dub Katz's “Magic Carpet Ride,” and Cagedbaby's set-closer “Starr,” to name a few.

That Detroit is known for regularly warming up The Chemical Brothers' crowds makes perfect sense, given how much his over-stimulated mix oozes the same kind of delirious energy one finds at a Chemical Brothers' show. If subtlety isn't the release's strong suit, it's nevertheless a banging and oft-cheeky rave-up whose energy never flags. There's certainly no danger of losing attention while Southern Fried & Tested 2 is playing.

September 2009