VA: Systematic Colours Vol. 2 - mixed by Marc Romboy

Following upon Stephan Bodzin's volume one installment comes the second by Systematic Recordings' founder Marc Romboy. Technically, the release invites the classification “minimal” but the risk in labeling it as such is that doing so may automatically alienate listeners who have becoming increasingly resistant to anything even tangentially associated with the term. And that would be a shame because there's no shortage of solid tech-house tunes on offer here, no matter the genre classification. Systematic offers a suave fusion of early Chicago house, soul, and funk, and with label associates such as John Dahlbäck, Stephan Bodzin, Blake Baxter, Spirit Catcher, Phonique, Dusty Kid, Robert Babicz, and Gui Boratto on board for this eighty-minute ride, the quality level can't be anything but high.

The collection begins in low-key manner, as if rousing itself from sleep, but then pulls itself together, kicking itself into gear when the seductive “Helen Cornell” chorus sucks you in during Stefan Goldmann's version of the Romboy-Chelonis R. Jones collab. The jittery, owl-like keyboard effects and Jones's drawl help get the release off on the good foot, after which Audio Soul Project keeps the party going with the clubby banger “Taking Shape.” Kim D.'s soulful musings deepen the snappy propulsion of Dimitri Andreas' “Run and Hide” while the initial surging house rumble of Bodzin and Romboy's “Callisto” gradually grows into something more epic and far-reaching. Romboy and Blake Baxter pair up for the pounding “The Club” (replete with lascivious voice-over), after which psychotropic tech-house pumpers such as Hugo & Daniele Papini's “Softuer” and Gui Boratto's remix of Babicz's “Sin” take the stage. Just when the mix seems ready to move into a softer (though no less driving) mode with the arrival of Dusty Kid's trippy “Milk,” D-Nox & Beckers wind it up again with the pulsating techno thrust of “Alphavella” and Oxia's lithe remix of Romboy's strutting “Karambolage.”

June 2009