Oscar G.: Made in Miami
Star 69

On Made In Miami, Oscar G., one-half (along with partner Ralph Falcon) of Miami's production team Murk, drops a voluminous two-disc mix of straight-up electro-house. Far from merely picking tunes (an assortment of brand new and classic tracks by a huge cast of artists and remixers) and sequencing them, Oscar made edits, added loops and sampled vocals throughout. The breathless pace is unrelenting and, if its 150 minutes are listened to straight through, understandably exhausting. Furthermore, he wastes no time on a becalmed intro but gets the set churning immediately with Kut's electro-funk mix of Shahi's “Adrenalin.” Interestingly, the album's material inhabits a distinctive middle ground between progressive and electro, sometimes opting exclusively for the latter (Dirt Crew's “Nervous”).

Following Steve Lawler's aggro mix of Funky Green Dogs “Reach For Me,” hi-hats slice through the opening section of Peter Rauhofer's roiling techno treatment of K & S Project's “The Music” before ceding the stage to a female singer's soulful throwdown. The set turns progressively more hypnotic as it rolls through Paul Harris's “Guitar 1,” Peace Division's roiling “Groove Me,” and Blaze's mechano-soul-jazz “Most Precious Love.” Up next, Oscar G's incredibly infectious mash-up of DJ Pezi (“The New Dimension”), Basement Jaxx (“Fly Life”), and Ralphie Rosario (“You Used to Hold Me”) is the first disc's peak, largely due to Xavier Gold's supple wail and the elephantine horn hook that roars over the tribal beats, with Murk's bumping remix of Lee Coombs “Shiver” a close second.

On disc two, Robbie Rivera's throbbing “Psykofuk” mix and D. Costello's overhaul of Dirt Crew's “Rok Da House” push the comp into increasingly hypnotic zones while “Move Your Body” and “Banta Boom” reinvest it with tribal swing. Electro returns again in Mark Knight's epic broiler “The Box” and Emjae's raving closer “Vanity” (the latter marred by the clichéd lyric “A change is gonna come”). Consistent with the genre, Made In Miami's sound is bold, the mood exuberant, and while it's far more mainstream in style than left-field, issues of genre recede when the material burns with such unrelenting force. Just brace yourself for a long ride.

October 2005