Various Artists - Sunkissed
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Various Artists

Put together by G-Ha and Olanskii, Sunkissed is the first mix album that the Smalltown Supersound label has ever released. Along with Rune Grammofon, the label has done an amazing job of showing off the incredibly fertile Norwegian music scene. There's not only a lot of music coming from the Scandinavian country, but an absolutely incredible variety as well, which explains how both labels have been able to co-exist and flourish seemingly with very little overlap in styles.

Sunkissed is actually the name of a sort of club-concept that's based in Oslo and manned by residents, but also pops out to different venues across Europe at different times. It essentially throws big-name night after big-name night, with everyone from Optimo, Isolee, Ricardo Villalobos, Richie Hawtin, and LCD Soundsystem having performed sets in the past couple years alone. This Sunkissed mix, however, is all about Norwegian artists, and includes everyone from the early days of the country's dance music scene (Mental Overdrive and Rune Lindbaek) to big name modern favorites like Lindstrom and Prins Thomas, along with a couple tracks by rock groups from the same country (120 Days and Sereena Maneesh).

In fact, the mix starts with the latter artist, and despite me thinking that their most recent release was highly over-rated, the Kosmische Remix of their track "Candlelighted" is the perfect opener, with pounding drums, juicy bass and just enough squealing layers of guitars to start things off with a bang. A remix of "Whistling In Toungues" by Felix Laband follows, and lightens things up a bit without getting into pure cosmic disco territory (which comes later in the release). Instead, the springy song features some nice guitar work and a light tribal rhythm that pushes things forward in a breezy way.

The overall feel of the mix changes about a third of the way in to the more more post-house cosmic disco sounds that several artists have carved out in the past couple years. A remix of "A Blast Of Loser" by Lindstrøm is only one of the highlights, keeping a steady beat going while dropping a heady load of swirling, dense synths and murky bass while pushing things higher and higher. Going back in time a bit, "Original Material" from Mental Overdrive is one of the more funked-out tracks on the entire release, with a slapping good time bass line and live-drum tinged beat programming that should burn up the dancefloor whenever it's played. Like most mixes, Sunkissed has a couple spots where it lags a bit (mostly because it feels a smidgen hemmed in by stylistic limitations), but for the most part it's an enjoyable trip through a batch of playful electronic dance music.

rating: 7.2510
Aaron Coleman 2007-05-10 20:05:04