VA: Superlongevity 5

Perlon's latest edition in its acclaimed compilation series, Superlongevity 5, is available in either a box set edition containing seven twelve-inch vinyl discs or a continuous mix double-CD format. While nothing beats hearing the label's stellar cuts booming forth from vinyl, it's also hard to top the experience of hearing the collection's twenty-eight previously unreleased tracks presented as two seventy-minute mixes (though do note that the sequencing differs from one release to the other). Most of those one would expect to contribute are here—Ricardo Villalobos, Narcotic Syntax, Dandy Jack, Baby Ford, Thomas Melchior, and Perlon co-founders Markus Nikolai and Thomas Franzmann (under his Dimbiman guise and with Sammy Dee as Pantytec) appear—but there are surprises too, with tracks by Shackleton, Stefan Goldmann, Portable, and Daniel Bell featured.

The set gently awakens via Baby Ford's bumping “Harshmaro,” all sensual whispers and ride cymbal accents, and Margaret Dygas's atmospheric “We're Not The Same” before gaining intensity as it moves into the thumping jack of Daniel Bell's “Deep Down” (apparently the Detroit native's first new track since 2003) and the dizzying vocal interplay of Matt John's “The Tapedeckers.” Appearing under his Jabberjaw guise, Matthew Dear keeps the wacky vocal vibe going with the slinky house of “Pop Bottle,” after which the swinging Chilean funk of “Vagabundo Nao” from Melchior Productions Ltd. takes over. Following San Proper's hard-grooving “Lady Cop,” Audio Werner goes deep during “Couched” in merging trippy melodic sparkle with bass thrust and a shuffle-house pulse, while Cassy does the same during the sensual soul-house vocal jam “Magnificent Cat Won't Do.”

Shackleton's “Paper Throne” opens disc two with a wiry, percussive-heavy throb that oozes mystery, after which Villalobos's elastic “Guaguay” paves the way for Morane's irrepressibly jubilant “Kalumpunga Kalimku,” which initiates a South American tour with a blustery trumpet solo as chaperone. Jazzy horn playing carries over into Kalabrese's “The 2010 Kitchen Session,” which begins with trippy bass funk and an invitation (“Come on over to our house in the kitchen”) before morphing into a cello-dominated rest-stop, followed by the rolling guitar-inflected thunder of Narcotic Syntax's (Zip, Markus Nikolai, Uwe Giegler, and James Dean Brown) “Mayaku Shintakusu.” The interstellar overdrive of Sonja Moonear's body-moving “Desert Queens” seems more evocative of the upper spheres than earthly plains, plus Half Hawaii (Sammy Dee and Bruno Pronsato) serve up a smooth vocal house cut (“Bring Back The Love”). Though the mix starts showing signs of weariness as it heads into its final laps, it perks up when Tobias's churning “She” and Portable's gorgeous “Keep On” round the corner.

Listeners familiar with the label's output already will know what to expect—supple microhouse grooves given funky, soulful, and jazzy twists and peppered with vocal effects, ear-catching instrumental touches, and Chilean swing—but that doesn't lessen the pleasures served up by the collection, and both CDs' mixes hold the listener's attention by moving exploratively through multiple territories and never staying in any one place for too long.

February 2011