Top positive review
One person found this helpful
on 12 August 2016
When viewed on CD format, the term ‘Soulful House’ should conjure up some level of curiosity amongst a broad range of fans to this closely monitored genre. A simple presentation where all credits for compiling and mixing are held within a sealed interior, and the only clues to what lies inside are shown through a listing of well established artists and tracks that are dominating the dance music industry today. Other than that, the only other information relates to Sony Music & Sony Distribution. OK, so as we have a trusted brand, let’s see what’s on offer.
Firstly, this is a mixed compilation and it’s worth pointing that out as it somehow manages to escape from the cover. Secondly, in keeping with today’s trends, we import to PC, transfer to a portable player, plug in a set of headphones and away we go.
Starting with Faul & Wad Ad Vs. Pnau’s – Changes, the first mix introduces us to some of the influential elements that are going to be used for the construction of the set. Katy B’s harmonious ‘Let Go For Tonight’ (Fred Falke Remix) is placed with attitude before setting off on a decisive trip through a host of tracks that have been mixed together in a sharp combination of styles ranging from supremely energetic to downright lazy. Building a set that relies on expressive contributions is well handled, and it moves through to a lighting peaks display in the shape of Mike Mago’s – The Show (Vocal Edit) before Paloma Faith’s – Can’t Rely On You (MK Remix) brings a burst of soulful charisma to the mix. Bondax’s – Giving It All grabs most of the attention and when the unequalled signature productions of - Kings Of Tomorrow Feat. April – Fall For You (Sandy Rivera’s Classic Mix) is dropped, the set is deferentially held within a calmed state before moving through to the second mix where a more contrasting combination is applied, and features a slightly cleaner sound, all of which surrounds a harder main room and back room club style. Darker generic rhythms of underground House stamp the set with a certain degree of control, and highlights include the horizontal tones of Nervo & Marco LYS’ – Don’t Break My Heart, the shadowy textures of Say Lou Lou’s - Better In The Dark (Hygrade Remix), the juicy auditions of MØ’s – Don’t Wanna Dance (Davidian Remix) and one of the many standout tunes featured on the compilation – True – Drums Of Death Feat. Yasmin.
There are a few tracks featured on this release that just don’t seem to make the cut and should have either been dropped or sent back to the drawing board, but where this compilation really goes wrong is on the production end. Most listeners using entry level headphones that have been cleverly designed to hide these flaws will have no issues what so ever, but for those using more expensive high end devices, it’s a little bit of a mess. Irritating levels of increased base combustion run their way around some the more accurately tuned productions, destroying the flow and upsetting the rhythm. Do we accept that this may have been done on purpose? Absolutely not! Young producers have a wealth of high end production equipment at their fingertips, and if they are determined to bring this developing sound under the scope of ‘soulfulness’ then it not only needs to be right – it needs to be ‘spot on’. We have a defining UK sound combined with a genre of music that was influenced and born in the US, and the bottom line is that it fails the UK stamp of approval quite considerably. Some readers may feel that my pessimistic view could be criticised as being subjective, but the reason for my outburst is that if it were not for this detrimental underlying flaw, this really is a great mix and it could have been a cracker if someone actually cared enough to produce it. So, as there are no credits on the cover, then the blame lies with whom? From most of the featured artists offerings, the terms ‘soulful’ & ‘house’ are deservedly credited but on the production end, it’s a very poor offering and would be slammed by most, if not all of the genre’s peers. What I love the most about this mix though is that it is packed with attitude and well constrained within the field of today’s younger generation and those with an ear for electronic House. Lucky guys!