Dusted Reviews

V/A - Dirty Diamonds II

today features
reviews charts
labels writers
info donate

Search by Artist

Sign up here to receive weekly updates from Dusted

email address

Recent Reviews

Dusted Reviews

Artist: V/A

Album: Dirty Diamonds II

Label: Diamond Traxx

Review date: Mar. 10, 2005

Boutique compilations are standard fare in the E.U. From record stores compiling their favorite tracks (Rough Trade UK) to the popularity of commercial collections like Mercedes Benz in Germany, the idea of aesthetes as selectors has yet to take hold in the colonies. Consider the outrageous success of the Now That's What I Call series and the abundance of "This Really Is Trance, Really 19" glitterpacks littering the ends of aisles at Best Buy. Such lukewarm reception in the US shows how we resist having thematic collections, and aesthetics, thrust upon us.

There are numerous other reasons for this: record label competition, the laws governing licensing, even the geographic space of the States resists such product. It's also been said that the U.S. is built around the car, and we tend to make our mixes for our own cars.

It's too bad, because the love of the compilation has given way to delightful collections, especially from the French. Yep, the French. The land of M83 and Air and Daft Punk is always repping the epitome of romantic music, and its compilations are no different. Radio Nova, from central Paris, has their NovaTunes and NovaClassics collections. Ur-boutique shoppe Colette presses up series like The Thrill of Colette and their numbered two-disc collections. Even DJ mixes (from the likes of Jennifer Cardini and Chloe) are imbued with the sexy. People are beginning to notice and take action, too, as Cardini is starting to make regular appearances under the Kompakt banner.

Dirty Diamonds II, a combined effort from the d-i-r-t-y.com fellows (arguably the best streaming website in the world), the small but powerful Diamondtraxx label and Colette is the crème de la crème of the aesthetic collection. Eighteen tracks in all, it includes a broad swath of styles: from the sidewalk funk of Moondog to Scottish orch pop from the Pastels. The best parts are the overlooked classics like Martin L. Gore's "Compulsion,” from 1989's Counterfeit EP, catchy as hell, even with its Casio quality. Next, the hi-quality house of Frankie Knuckles' "Your Love" beams in like sunshine. Its descending synth lines are translucent, and Jamie Principle, all cooing and groaning, could make Sousa sound seductive.

From the past, d-i-r-t-y-'s dusted fingers also pull out a panning, flanging William Sheller (which reveals an Automator sample), a well-placed cut from a Fellini soundtrack, and Arthur Russell – whose inherant sexiness, avant-garde dancefloor style and intimacy make him a must-place on any mixtape in 2005. The inclusion of Harry Nilsson's oft-covered "One" neatly ends the mix.

While deftly mining the decades, the selectors also point toward the future, giving tastes of now sound that will inspire in the months to come. Sa Ra with their epic thunk-hop track "Glorious" (brilliantly followed by the obscure UK R&B jam "Kites"), a recent Out Hud jam, the Konki Duet's electronic pop complex, Air remixed by the buzz-building Jackson and an unreleased remix from the criminally overlooked French act Octet.

Elsewhere, Maurice Fulton turns the Chicken Lips "Do It Proper" into retribution (its production mirrors his work for Mu). There's also the wonderful obscurant eclectica of John Foxx (of Ultravoxx), Simon Dupree and the Big Sounds, and I Monster.

The French seem to really grasp what makes a good selected mix. To maintain interest, it has to have variety. That variety needs to be perfectly sequenced, and that sequence has to have an inherent action. It should be made to stay in a CD player, preferably a Car Stereo, as compilations are for travel and car stereos usually repeat automatically at the end of a CD. So when Nilsson's strumming fades away, someone in Paris is making a right. Their sound system cycles back to Moondog, and it's déjà vu all over again.

By David Day

Read More

View all articles by David Day

Find out more about Diamond Traxx

©2002-2011 Dusted Magazine. All Rights Reserved.