Album Review: Future Disco Vol. 5: Downtown Express - Various

Last year's Future Disco 4 turned out to be one of the better mix albums I heard last year. Despite coming fairly late in an ongoing series it had a really strong sense of identity and multiple classic tunes. Future Disco Vol. 5 follows the mantra of if it ain't broke, don't fix it... What you have is another collection of contemporary house tracks from the current batch of hot new things, this time packages up under the subtitle Downtown Express.

So we have another winner then, right? Sort of. The problem here is two-fold:

Firstly this doesn't have any disco. Where as volume 4 had Kaine's 'Love Saves The Day' and 'Zombie Tropicana' - classic soul vocals and experimental eclecticism that encapsulated some of the original spirit of disco this latest release really just feels like a collection of recent house releases. Because of that fact there just isn't any noticeable identity.

Secondly and more importantly the quality just ain't as high. There are a few good standout tracks but nowhere near the same caliber as on the previous release.

So if it isn't exactly a killer release or a highwater-mark for the series then what is it? Mostly just a collection of decent tunes - good but unlikely to blow you away. Miguel Campbell's 'Something Special' is a case in point - it's a nice minimal but bouncy house track but nowhere near as good as his MAM collaboration I recently reviewed, which would have been a much more 'disco' choice.

There are still a few good moments, they just aren't quite as consistently essential as volume 4's best tracks were. Tensnake once again deliver the business on Tiger & Woods filtered mix of 'Need Your Lovin' and the Pitto instrumental version of T J Kong & Nuno Dos Santos' 'Something Happened' is a great tense piece of tech-house funk. Benoit & Sergio's 'Principles' is still excellent, as Benoit & Sergio frankly always are and Maceo Plex's mix of DJ T.'s 'City Life' shows once again that no-one makes techno influenced sunshine house as well as Maceo Plex.

The album only really starts to deliver as it closes though. Joakim's 'Find A Way' is given a beautiful remix by Soul Clap - aptly entitled the Soul Clap Floating remix the result is a deliriously contemplative loved-up sensation that captures the introspective coming-of-age feeling the Joakim album from which it is lifted attempted to capture in the first place. It just might be Soul Clap's finest remix to date. Similarly the Prince Language mix of Penguin Prison's rather formulaic pop house track 'Multi Millionaire' transforms the original into a suitably climatic old Chicago house tribute.

It's a shame things don't start quite as well as they finish.

Future Disco Vol. 5 is out on February 27 on Need Want, available for pre-order from Amazon.co.uk on CD and MP3 [affiliate links].

Single Review: Something About You - Tensnake

Tensnake's mysteriously named 'Coma Cat' has become one of the biggest underground hits in the past few years. And understandably so - the fantastically old skool vibe is an undeniable pleasure, sounding like it came straight out of the summer of love with its wandering baseline and calypso percussion.

Considering the attention lavished on 'Coma Cat' the follow up, 'Something About You', seems to have managed to go a little under the radar. Don't expect that to remain the case - it just might be even better. The sound is similar - still wearing its proto-house badge with pride in it's squeaky stabs and loved-up piano loop. What it adds is a (tiny) bit more vocal and some warmth.

Where 'Coma Cat' just had snatches of voices this features the title repeated soulfully - ”Something about you baby". With a lovely glow surrounding the main piano break the vocal and the sound perfectly encapsulate the loved up feeling behind the original house scene... And that is the beauty of Tensnake: it makes you feel like you almost could have been there.

Jas Shaw's 'Alt. Mix' adds little. It's slower and has a few extra flourishes. The best thing about it is the gentle end, which eventually lets the beat drop away altogether, leaving a wonderfully laid back outro. Sadly it does a little bit less with the piano and so it doesn't quite capture the spirit as much as the A-side.

With this release Tensnake proves 'Coma Cat' was no fluke - time to keep your eyes peeled for more.

BP x

Something About You is out now on Mirau Musik, available from Amazon.co.uk on MP3 [affiliate link].