VA: 7 Years Of Outcross Records
Outcross Records

You won't find a whole lot of information, historical or otherwise, about Outcross Records at its website or Facebook page; presumably, the Leeds-based independent record label prefers to let its high-spirited house music speak for itself, and it certainly does so perfectly well, thank you very much. Let's mention one additional detail before turning to the matter at hand and note that the label was founded by DJ-producer Miguel Campbell in 2006.

With that in mind, it hardly surprises that Campbell is one of the main artists featured on 7 Years Of Outcross Records, an eighty-two-minute compilation that makes a strong argument for the label's musical brand and is as fine an overview as one might hope to have. How does it sound? Imagine Daft Punk creating a (largely) instrumental set of clubby house jams for the NY disco set, and you're on the right track. The typical Outcross cut oozes a radiant spirit and bounce, and joyous melodies and breezy house rhythms are in plentiful supply. That makes for a pretty much irresistible combination, especially when there are fifteen fresh future-funk cuts to dig into as is the case here.

The good times kick in immediately when MAM's “Talking Box” rolls out a lithe, bass-pumping strut and sweetens it with a sing-song melody and carry on through Campbell's electro-funk sparkler “Metro Line” and Miguel Puente's hypnotic “Only You.” Campbell appears under his own name a number of times (getting his royal Daft Punk groove on in “LoveScreams,” for example) but also in combination with Tru Luque as Halfcast Bastards (the loopy “Sometimes We Funk”) and with Matt Hughes as MAM (“Yellow Pages”). Like the label founder, Hughes surfaces a number of times on the collection, both solo (“Stand Up”) and paired with Campbell (“I Can Fly”).

Some cuts include vocal treatments, among them: Inland Knights' (Andy Riley and Laurence Ritchie) funky low-rider “Bounce,” which pairs repetitions of the title with an MC's shredded utterance; Sean Roman's “What I'm Missing,” whose synth- and guitar-heavy funk groove provides a stoked base for a male singer's soulful musings (“Give me what I'm missing…”); and Iain O'Hare's “Radiovox,” a sexy, stripped-down jam sprinkled with seductive female cooing (“I keep your photograph by my bed…”). Speaking of sexy, first prize in that category has to go to Puente's “Keep On” for the one-two punch of its low-down bass slither and ravishing female vocal.

You won't find words like morose and downtrodden in the Outcross dictionary so anyone looking for melancholy should look elsewhere. But those with a jones for high-spirited melodic house should find 7 Years Of Outcross Records just cause for celebration. What are you waiting for?

April 2014