VA: Future Disco Volume 5: Downtown Express

I doubt there's ever been a more aptly titled series than Needwant's Future Disco. The UK label's fifth chapter freshens up the '80s disco sound so splendidly, the material starts to seem like the most forward-thinking if not timeless material around. Compiler-mixer Sean Brosnan has done a superb job in crafting this Downtown Express installment in the series—though he's made his job considerably easier by having chosen for the seventy-four-minute set such a high-quality collection of music. Among those contributing tracks (eighteen in total) are Tensnake, Benoit & Sergio, Metronomy, Mano Le Tough, Mario Basanov, Maxxi Soundsystem, Cosmic Kids, Bonar Bradberry, and Joakim, while Maceo Plex, Tiger & Woods, and Soul Clap are among the remixers.

Many cuts get their kick from funky bass lines and their soul from a steady stream of vocalists, and creamy synths, claps, and swinging mid-tempo beats add to a party feel that's both inviting and relaxed. The mix starts off at a peak level with the Latin-tinged electro-funk of Moon Boots' “Off My Mind,” its soulful vocals rendering the sparkling the tune even more irresistible, and never looks back. Perpetuating the vibe, “The Hit” (credited to Crazy P present The Syndromes) keeps things moving with a gurgling clavinet leading the charge, while Mario Basanov's remix of Metronomy's poppy “Corrine” features some of the release's most enticing hooks as well as one of its most alluring grooves. There's no resisting the deep and funky boogie of Maxxi Soundsystem's “There's No Love,” and David August's “On My Mind” is effervescent and uplifting, too. Not surprisingly, one of the mix's deepest cuts comes by way of Crosstown Rebels' Maceo Plex, whose remix of DJ T.'s “City Life” is a high point, especially when it marries the chirp of Cari Golden's vocal to an impossibly funky, bass-accented groove. Rewards' “Equal Dreams” likewise receives a boost from the vocal presence of Solange Knowles

For many a year (decade, even), disco was a dirty word, something not spoken of in polite company or for which one expressed anything but revulsion, but it's a genre experiencing some degree of rehabilitation, and one suspects that the Future Disco series has played a part in its re-emergence. Luscious and joyful, Brosnan's mix offers a most welcome antidote to the post-holiday winter blues.

February 2012