Tim Love Lee - "The Trip": After the sheer brilliance that was "Tom Middleton's" effort which not only shifted the goalposts in terms of a 2-Cd themed album of (Dance - Cd 1) & (Chill - Cd2), Tom Middleton also delivered one of the most ingeniously realized mix albums of 2004 (If not the best). So If Tim was hoping to get his edition of this series noticed, He was going to have to bring some truly exceptional to the table to get his edition noticed.
And what Tim does have on his side, and proves to be his trump card is "Eclecticism", and despite how utterly varied Tom Middleton's effort was, Tim takes musical obscurity to new levels. If the genre hopping of albums like "David Holmes - Come get it, I've Got It", quickly had the reaching for the migraine tablets, then you need not apply here, as this pushes the mismatched genres and wildly obscure tracks into a whole new playing field.
Disk 1 (Dance): Any artist that starts a mix album with the synth pop/New Romantic swagger of Ultravox's "Vienna" is either (a) Clearly mad, and a danger to society.....or (b) Pushing the 'Eclectic' button for all its worth, and hoping it works. And to tell the truth, it does works....Brilliantly!!, especially as it's then superbly mixed into the celebratory carefree soul of "The Pointer Sisters - Yes, We Can Can", before surging into the wonderfully sleazy baroque pop of 'Serge Gainsbourg's' French spoken "Requiem Pour Un Con". If by this point, this all sounds a bit much, then you'll have a fair idea that this album isn't for the faint-hearted.
Tim, favors the lesser known underrated tracks as opposed to crowd favourites, why else would he choose the toe-tappingly funky "Hum Along and Dance" by "The Jackson's" in favor of any of their chart topping singles??. Tim's mix, even touches on Jazz/Blue eyed Soul with the orchestral Jazz of Duke Ellington's sublime "Didgeridoo", rubbing shoulders with the stylishly detached Pop-Soul of "Robert Palmers - Looking for Clues". Slick, sophisticated and knowingly sensual, this proves that there was far more to Robert Palmer than his "Addicted to Love" hit single. Tim Lee (Like Tom Middleton) isn't afraid to drop the odd Obscure cover version in his mix either, and so we get the Latin instrumental version of "The Doors- Light my Fire" by El Chicano, which is sublime, (but over faaaar too quickly), before finishing out Disc 1 with the brooding and detached synth-rock of "Siouxsie & The Banshees - Dear Prudence".
Disk 2 (Chill): Tim's idea of 'Chill out' music invariably differs from the majority of most peoples perception. Instead favoring: Northern Soul, Smooth Groove, singer/songwriter & Jazz, to sell his idea of a different sort of 'Chilled' music to the listener. Although you'd be hard pressed to believe it on the first track by "White Noise's" Experimental/Psychedelic "Love without Sound", Its a bumpy ride of a track, for sure.....and it'll take most listeners several listens to digest what's going on. But It does set itself up nicely to blend into Gabor Szabo's smooth Soul-Jazz of "Walking On Nails".
It's here that the album beings to settle into it smooth grooves with a slab of Rhythm & Blues of "Booker T's - The Sequence", and irrespective of the diversity of his choices, It's clear that Tim Lee knows a thing or two, about rare grooves. But the best yet to come.....any album that contains "Nick Drake" song's is (almost) worth the price of admission, and his acoustic guitar driven British-Folk truly deserves a wider audience, and coupled with the reflective and ethereal Neo-Classical of "Vangelis'- Let it Happen"., this is 100% back to back brilliance. The last couple of tracks round out the disk with Tim Lee again choosing to side-step obvious choices and pick "Stevie Wonder's" lesser known sentimental "Hey Love" over his more instantly recognized work, before closing out superbly with Joan Armatrading's 70's singer/songwriter song "Like Fire".
If you are looking to buy this, It has to be repeated, that if wildly eclectic mix albums aren't your cup of tea, and you find them overly complicated, then this album is most certainly not something I'd recommend....It jumps from genre to genre, without a running musical theme, and those that are frustrated by less-than-smooth transitions in their music, will be irritated by Tim Lee's mixing of genres that just shouldn't (in theory), be attempted to be mixed. (Although to be completely fair, apart for the occasional disjointment, he manages far better than most would, and the mixes are exemplary in places). And for those also looking for Chill out music in the traditional sense, will be horrified to hear that Electronica/Downtempo music has been shunned in favor of 60's Soul, contemporary-Folk & Soundtrack-styled music, as mood setters.
If you loved the Tim Middleton Cd (who didn't??), and are hoping for more of the same, than approach with caution, as although they both think 'Outside the Box' with their albums, Tim Lee's is a little more "Out There". But the main question most will want to know is: "Is It Better Than Tom Middleton's Effort??".....the short answer is "Not Quite". Tom has the edge (just) on a slightly better track selection, and a more fleshed out Disk 2 (containing around 7 more tracks). But these are minor niggles, and nothing can take away from the fact that this is a truly superior Mix album, and if the series continues with this incredible efforts, this will be the series to beat.
P.s. Apparently "Saint Etienne" are lined up, to do the next in the series