Cielo: Seventh Heaven

How seductive is Cielo's Seventh Heaven, the third chapter in the New York club's compilation series? The two-disc set's ‘Balearic' and ‘Subterranean' mixes by resident DJs Nicolas Matar and Willie Graff are so appealing, they'll make you want to get on the next plane and move to Ibiza in the Balearic Islands permanently. If the warm grooves are emblematic of what life on the island is like, residing there sounds like the only sane choice one could possibly make.

The first half overflows with languorous soul-funk atmosphere, creamy synth lines, and occasional Latin and Salsa flavour. Though the vibe's laid-back, the mix rises to a serious broil by the fourth song and remains there for the next fifty minutes. The disc abounds with rapturously swinging cuts like Charles Webster's Dub mix of Rebecca Pidgeon's “Learn to Pray,” Kiko Navarro's “Soñando Contigo,” and The Craftsmen's “Estrella.” Mention should be made too of Masaya's soulful vocalizing on Markus Enochson's “For You To See (Tiger Stripes Vocal Remix)” and the virtuosic fretless bass playing that powers Fudge's fusion-soul hybrid “Close To My People.” Matar and Graff come by their Balearic house material honestly, as Matar's been involved in the Ibizan house music movement for over fifteen years while Graff was born on the island and, to their credit, the pair give all eleven tracks ample room to breathe and work their magic.

The second disc, a superb Deep house collection, is strong too though marred slightly by an over-the-top turn by ex-Tower Of Power singer Hubert Tubbs on Skwerl's “All Woman.” Buzzin' Fly's Rocco gets things started beautifully with the silken thrust of “Thursday Night, Friday Morning” before the familiar strains of Delgui's “Highlights (Charles Webster Remix)” and its soulful vocal cruises into view. Highlights include the acid-jazz-house fusion of Fudge's “Ponta Negra” and the light-speed grandeur of Ferrer & Sydenham Inc.'s closing “ Timbuktu (Ame Main Mix).” All things considered, the more uniformly solid ‘Balearic' disc stands a bit taller but ‘Subterranean' boasts some choice moments too.

May 2007