New CD compilations from David Knapp, Roland Belmares, Chris Cox and JC Sindress

by Doug Rule
Published on May 22, 2003, 12:00am | Comments

To the students in the Winter Semester “Advanced House DJs” seminar: School's out, and you're anxious to get to your next big gigs, or to the beach. But since your final class projects in this seminar are all being released to a buying public eager for beach mixes, it's only fair that they see how you DJs fared, grade-wise. Some of the popular crowd didn't make it through to the end of the term. Brett Henrichsen was expelled after he flubbed his The Club 2003 (Masterbeat) by including only straight clubland couples in the CD booklet artwork, abandoning his core audience. For shame. Alyson Calagna and Julian Marsh each dropped out early, and that's just as well, since their awful Centaur releases Party Groove: Blue Ball Volume 2 and Party Groove: Motorball Volume 2, respectively, would have earned them each an F.

Chris Cox

CHRIS COX: After several lackluster compilations, you've finally nailed it. Maybe your platform should always be a specifically queer one, as it is with Queer as Folk Third Season Disc 1 (Tommy Boy Records). This third edition in the series is definitely the charm of the lot (it's also the first two-parter, though Disc 2 is a poorly executed grab bag of pop-rock). A Divine track, in its original, unadulterated form? How, well, divine. We need a Divine-like character in gay culture these days, but in the meantime, reviving the ‘80s trash-talking drag queen (and original Hairspray hefty momma) is just fine by us. “Native Love” is Divine at her hilarious best. There's not a dud among the eight tracks here, but why only eight? Your sequence isn't perfect, and you've created a bottom-heavy disc, with the very best tracks at the end, from the remarkable “Viva Colombia,” a polyrhythmic house versus salsa battle blend, to Cassius's pulsating marvel, “The Sound of Violence.” All in all, though, you really knocked this one out of Babylon, Mr. Cox. Grade: A-  

Roland Belmares

ROLAND BALMARES: You've loaded your very first compilation, Party Groove: Winter Party Volume 6 (Centaur Entertainment), with crowd-pleasing vocal tracks. But you've done it in a disjointed greatest-hits fashion and not the carefully, creatively assembled musical trip through a night out on the dance floor that it should be. There's more to making a great mixed CD than a knack for picking good hits. But at least you've got an ear for picking good tracks that other DJs haven't noticed. The two-year-old dance song from ‘80s' teen idol Tiffany, “I'm Not Sleeping,” hasn't received as much play as it should have. And Sherrie Lea's “Anyway,” as remixed by Hex Hector, is a darling track. You've overloaded your CD with high-calorie sugarpop in an unbalanced proportion, Mr. Balmares, but somehow it still tastes good. Grade: B-

David Knapp
DAVID KNAPP: You surely need no advice, having made a go of this gay DJ biz for more than a decade. And on Global Groove: House 2 (Centaur), kudos to you for paying attention to the world of music outside most U.S. DJs' spin cycle. Few other DJs have paid any heed to Erasure's recent cover of Peter Gabriel's “Solsbury Hill.” You found a remix of it. You also hit us with K-Klass featuring Kinane's “Talk 2 Me,” a soon-to-be clubland hit, given its pending CD single release. Good job of taking early note of this ecstatic song. The bar for this House compilation series was set incredibly high by Tony Moran's inaugural edition last year, and you almost miss it by including too many other bland or miscast tracks. Grade: B

J.C. SINDRESS: You offer further proof that disco never actually died. With Barfly IV (George V. Records), Mr. Sindress, you prove that you're one of the true leaders of the French neo-disco revolution (with Daft Punk). You've spent eight years spinning a combination of soul, funk, hip-hop and house at Barfly, where the pretty people go in Paris. And of course they do; they know to expect first-rate house music. You can listen to Barfly IV forwards, backwards, at random or on continuous play: no matter, it'll take a while to differentiate one track from another. That's a compliment, as compilations by their very nature are disjointed affairs, and no matter how well quilted together nearly always sound as unique as each colored block of your grandmother's handmade afghan. But your disco fusion style so colors each track that at first rush it sounds like a single, uniform block of material. This compilation stands Eiffel Tower-style above all others for that reason, and for this: there is not one weak track among 16 here, only weak moments in a couple songs. They don't last long. Grade: A

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QAF: 3rd Season Soundtrack

Global Groove: House 2

Winter Party 6

JC Sindress, Barfly IV

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