Various Artists Valeu: Celebrating 5 Years of Man Recordings Review

Released 2010.  

BBC Review

Hyperactive, twitchy breaks unleashed by a mutant strain of global house.

Matthew Bennett 2010

If dance music is cyclic then Man Recordings is perhaps the blind spot on the Western rave wheel.

Daniel Haaksman, like many intrepid music lovers travelling in South America, was smitten by the baile funk sounds of Brazil. Yet he did what most didn’t: he started a label, bringing these exotic dance cuts to Europe.

In doing so he helped unleash a mutant strain of global house that delightfully infected the somewhat stale European sounds and created a musical wave that the UK’s so-called ‘fidget house’ DJs surfed gladly upon towards back-to-back club bookings.

Swinging, bouncing and unashamedly brash, Valeu stands at the 50 releases in five years axis and is one of the most defining reasons why the authentic elements of baile funk and favela sounds have been brashly adopted by our the continent’s elite producers.

Hyperactive, twitchy breaks pepper all 12 tracks here. One of the highlights is Zuluairlines by Bert on Beats which perhaps best sums up the clash of schizophrenic rhythm structures as a kalimba fades into a dizzying bin-busting bass which writhes manically in and out of 4/4 rhythms. It’s a multi-continental musical mongrel that’ll bark on any dancefloor.

This is a hybridised affair though, since names like Schlachthofbronx, Zombie Disco Squad and Crookers are rarely found on Rio’s back streets. Yet they’ve become adept at wearing the Brazilian sonic scents, albeit deftly aided by lively rapping by characters such as MC Dandao, MC Iguinho and Bonde das Preparadas.

Man Recordings’ niche dance music may quickly be lost on more conservative palettes, however. This output occasionally gets engulfed in its own demented direction, like an obsessed child that’s taken a game too far – it can get overbearing. Seiji’s Basslips illustrates how the European hunger for narcotic bleeps can bleed this music’s integrity dry.

But don’t expect its architects to care for such notions of integrity: they’re too preoccupied having epic amounts of fun on a gloriously juvenile sound safari. It’s a smoking hot journey on which you too may spot something you like.

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