VA: The Boogie Volume 6
Tokyo Dawn Records

Seventy minutes of prime Tokyo Dawn material, The Boogie Volume 6 is an automatic spirit-raiser, its eighteen affirmations a veritable panacea for any conceivable ill. There's little room for lugubriousness in this collection, especially when the contributors infuse their luscious productions with '80-styled positivity and draw from long-standing soul, funk, and R&B traditions. Don't think, however, that the set's mired in the past: the material on this sixth volume is fresh, and consequently should appeal equally to fans of Prince and The Weeknd.

Silo eases the listener into the compilation with “Together,” its smooth strut nicely complemented by a silky male lead and sensual female rejoinders. With that scene-setter laid to rest, the party gets seriously under way with the Prince-styled boogie of The APX's “Guilty,” a funk jam whose chunky synths, vocoder accents, and electronic toms give the cut a decidedly ‘80s feel. Hip-hop producer DJ Agile joins forces with fellow Torontonian Desiire for the smooth croon of “High Off,” while the bedroom-ready “Take It Slow” keeps the Toronto connection going by draping Sacha Williamson's sultry voice across Opolopo's slow-funk backdrop. Amour's just as strongly in the air for Goodfoot's romantic paean “Anita,” whereas fans of slap bass and lustrous soul crooning should jump immediately to Jay Ru's hard-grooving dynamo “It's Over Now.”

The set's abundant in vocal cuts but makes room for MC turns, too. D-Ryde's “Sip” features a mighty performance from Anthony Mills, whereas “Early Retirement,” D-Ryde's other contribution, sees Mills parading his vocal skills instead, falsetto included. LyricL's “Wanna Make” is a standout, particularly when she alternates spoken word passages with a swoon-worthy chorus, while “Get Up,” sweetened with female vocal interjections, perpetuates the recording's empowering vibe with poetic wordsmithing from London MC Eneeks.

Personal Life's productions are typically highlights of Tokyo Dawn's compilations, and “Give Into The Night” is no exception. Powered by horns, funky rhythm guitar riffing, and a soulful lead vocal, the jubilant cut grooves hard, its rousing chorus punctuated by cowbell accents. For something more sweetly soulful, Carly & The Universe's pop-styled “Listen” provides a relaxing respite from the collection's high-energy pieces, and LA-based electropop outfit Sool (Mercy Collazo and Art Bleek) serves up one of the release's tastiest earworms in “Trying Hard.” Perhaps no cut better embodies the release's joyful spirit than Laytonwoohbill's “LW in 80s,” its two minutes of electro splendour over more quickly than one might like.

Not only is this sixth volume in the series diverse, it's also consistently strong, so much so that one would be challenged to find a weak song in the bunch. For that to be said of an eighteen-track set obviously says much about the quality on offer.

December 2017