VA: The Move Volume 2
Tokyo Dawn Records

Anyone coming to Tokyo Dawn Records for the first time could do a whole lot worse than begin with The Move Volume 2, especially when the seventy-seven-minute, fifteen-track compilation features material by a generous number of the label's roster artists. While widescreen vocal house productions predominate, the collection's anything but one-dimensional as other styles find their way into the setlist too.

Par for the compilation course, some cuts resonate more than others, and different listeners will have different favourites. Some cuts, such as the radiant “Children of the Sun” by Positive Flow (UK-based multi-instrumentalist Jesse Reuben Wilson), are delicious in the extreme; no one should be surprised that in this case Moji's remix of the glorious original is elevated by the sultry vocal gifts of The Cinematic Orchestra's Heidi Vogel. A second Positive Flow contribution, this one an infectious Ocean Sky remix of “Universal Truth,” is strong too, if not quite at the level of “Children of the Sun.” And though summer might be a fast-fading memory, DJ Agile brings its joyous vibe back with the uplifting “Lovers,” especially when Toronto jazz singer Sacha Williamson contributes a gorgeous vocal to the breezy house cut.

Spiked by a bone-dry bass pulse and punchy horns, Honesty's hard-grooving remix of Personal Life's “There's A Time For Everything” infuses the project with a deep, soulful house vibe. Memorable too are Opolopo's re-rub of Roy Ananda's “The Only Thing That Makes Sense Is You,” a strutting tech-house production elevated by a soulful Pete Simpson vocal, SoulParlor's rousing deep house swinger “Be There,” and Silo's seductive “All Night” instrumental.

As mentioned, not everything's a house jam. One of the more unusual tracks is LyricL's “Appreshelove” for eschewing standard vocalizing for a long-form spoken word turn that thoughtfully riffs on positivity, loneliness, connectedness, and other matters. An Afrobeat influence also surfaces in a few cuts on the album, most overtly in Mowgan's “Atche Keke” (featuring Ras Willa), a loping Afrotech roller whose curt vocal phrases immediately lodge themselves in the brain. Much like Tokyo Dawn's material in general, the volume's tracks are maximal, multi-layered productions where vocals are embedded within lush, elaborately conceived arrangements. Minimal techno it ain't.

November 2017