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V/A - Cosmic Balearic Beats, Vol. 2

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Artist: V/A

Album: Cosmic Balearic Beats, Vol. 2

Label: Eskimo

Review date: Jan. 22, 2010

When Cosmic Balearic Beats Vol. 1 compilation dropped in late 2008, the heady Euro disco packaged within seemed both tantalizing and timely. Lindstrom’s Where You Go I Go Too was moving minds and asses alike and space-disco was peaking in popularity. Fast forward a year and the sounds found on either of those albums are being copped by producers around the globe. Disco is again the hottest word on the mouths of club goers and crate diggers—many of whom weren’t even born until after the genre had taken its dive towards ridicule and cliché.

A cynic could state the underground’s obsession with rehashing the days of old has left nothing but the second-tier musical moments to mine. The truth is, however, that disco was a broad ranging and creative genre; one that’s legacy has been unfairly tainted by memories of flammable fashions and saccharine songwriting. In paying homage to disco’s best traits, the cosmic disco sound—when done right—has managed to add a bit of sparkle to a dance scene that had started taking itself too seriously.

It’s unfortunate then that the Eskimo Recordings crew should drop the (disco) ball so completely with Cosmic Balearic Beats Vol. 2. From the opening cut—Hot Toddy’s stumbling "I Need Love"—something is off. While the first volume achieved a fine balance between woofer-taxing beats, deep head-nodders and atmospheric interludes, Vol. 2 is all over the map in a way that rarely coheres. Cuts like Premier Rang’s "Zoe et Heine" bring a mesmerizing pulse, but too frequently the sound provides this reviewer with flashbacks of nights spent in near-empty second rate clubs listening to DJs who either had poor access to records or no ear for which ones to play.

As the album winds towards its conclusion—rarely has a mix slid by so slowly—the individual tracks provide bountiful evidence for how middling this collection is. The overdriven electric guitar on Rayko’s "Slowtrack" sounds like the type of late-night studio experiment that would normally be deleted come sober listen the next morning. Even so, it’s far more bearable that the iron-fingered piano plunking on Nelue’s "No Strings Attached."

While there are moments on Cosmic Balearic Beats Vol. 2 that merit repeat spins, the redeemable moments are few and far between, and don’t come close to Eskimo Recordings’ prior highs. Best to steer clear.

By Ethan Covey

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