Album Reviews

DFA Compilation Vol.2 – Various Artists

(Author Name) UK release date: 1 November 2004

DFA Records is the label we have to thank for The Rapture, but as this handsomely packaged compilation shows there’s a lot more where they came from – New York, to be precise, the focus of the music on offer.

The men behind DFA are James Murphy and Tim Goldsworthy, a founder member of Unkle. In fact there are echoes of the project from some of the acts here, along with high energy disco punk, trancey techno and a decent helping of funk.

The funk, first – Black Leotard Front know how to secure maximum mileage out of a relatively simple bass line, and Casual Friday’s fifteen minutes doesn’t outstay its welcome thanks to some amusing vocals and an easy-going lope to the beat. The disco punk comes from LCD Soundsystem, with two versions of the hi-octane Yeah, again a simple concept with repetition of the word building and building into a shattering, acidic climax of whirling synthesizer lines. Previously unavailable on CD, I would wager this is one of the jewels in the DFA crown.

The trancey techno? Well for this it’s thanks to Delia Gonzalez and Gavin Rossom, who offer some head massaging melodic loops, again weighing in at a quarter of an hour with El Monte, but developing their ideas in a subtle and stimulating way.

The other acts are by no means eclipsed either, with J.O.Y. giving a brooding bass line the once over on Sunplus, with an enjoyably madcap vocal. Also very good is The Juan MacLean, actually John MacLean of Six Finger Satellite, who comes up with some forward thinking electro. The sound of this label has often been described as electroclash in the past, but it’s good to report that it’s actually far superior.

I was surprised how much of an impact these outfits made, to the extent that I enjoyed the Rapture tracks least – an indication of the high standard selected. Alabama Sunshine and Sister Saviour are both perfectly decent tracks, but have to bow to their label mates.

Having gone mental/horizontal/confused (delete as appropriate), you can then listen to a dirty dozen of mixed up DFA tracks, a mixture of what’s gone before and some new stuff in the form of LCD’s On Repeat and The Juan MacLean’s Give Me Every Little Thing. This means nigh on three hours of stonkingly good music for the price of one, an essential purchase for fans of this sort of New York underground music. It also strengthens the label’s reputation as a high quality, no nonsense outfit. As LCD put it, “yeah, yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah!”

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