Ben Watt is back with another first class mix of deep house tunes. It's not often that...
Jack Smith 2004
If you're one of many that purchased the first instalment from Buzzin' Fly - the label, club, and lifestyle single-handedly created by label mogul Ben Watt - this sophomore collection will further fuel the debate that good times are ahead.
Whilst the label has yet to enjoy its first bona fide crossover hit, the sublime "Pop A Cap In Yo' Ass" is easily the next best thing. Featuring Estelle on vocals, the record recounts a tale of shoplifting and the rocky road that lies ahead for children of the ghetto. Musically it pays homage to vintage Chicago house productions from the "Promised Land" era whilst feminising The Streets' curb-stone poetry style.
Thankfully, Ben has included his two year old oeuvre "Lone Cat", that exudes sophistication and soul-kissed beats from the off. This is typical of the Buzzin Fly sound; edgy deep-house grooves embellished with the odd hint of afro-beat, that ooze elegance and panache.
Recordings from Hanna Häis (on the saxual overload "Rosa Nova"), Justin Martin (picking up where the acclaimed "Sad Piano" left-off), Nookie's beautifully crafted dream-educing "Better Love", and DJ T (complete with burbling acid synths on the old school-sounding "Time Out") all highlight a combination of sharp musicianship, sophistication, and in part, subtle vocal flair, which will please mature listeners as well as edify the tastebuds of their burgeoning club following.
Watt's secret, if you can call it that, is his restraint from giving the listener too much too soon, teasing us with R&B inflected house instrumentals, rather than firing a barrage of "Iloveyouyouloveme" clichéd lyrics too often associated with house music.
He draws influence from the master, Larry Levan, saying "modern, relentless DJ sets bore me. He (Levan) paid as much attention to the lyrical flow of his sets as the groove. Stories unfold within the music."
As with the predecessor in the series, Watt's mixing is uncomplicated and assuredly smooth across unfolding musical soundscapes. It's not often that the sequel betters the original, but in this case we'll the make exception. Another first rate compilation that is joy to listen to from a label that is fast becoming the very epitome of cool.