Album Reviews

The Blue Room (Various)

UK release date: 6 October 2003


So what do you do between the hours of five and seven on a Sunday morning? Not much, I’d imagine – especially anything that requires any brain power.

If you do happen to be awake at that time though, Radio 1’s Blue Room is open, with hosts Chris Coco and Rob Da Bank ready with an intriguing cocktail of down tempo grooves that are perfect for soothing frayed nerves, sore heads or insomniacs.

The show’s format translates effortlessly on to disc, with a refreshing absence of the obvious tracks that grace these compilations. Instead there’s relative unknowns from Scandinavia and high quality underground acts. The two DJs complement each other well – Rob Da Bank’s more off the wall second CD mix majors on quirkiness and humour, while Chris Coco’s blend of song-based material with fuzzy dub numbers makes for a good listen on the first CD.

Fragments of The Orb’s classic Blue Room bookend the two mixes, and in Coco’s opening this blends seamlessly into Ulrich Schnauss’s excellent Crazy For You. Calexico‘s Not Even Stevie Nicks sounds great in the context of this mix, and there’s also some dubby weirdness in the reverb-fest Bees remix of Polyphonic Spree, which is reassuringly bass-heavy.

Later on, a tender song from My Morning Jacket stands out; in fact, Phone Went West is sung so quietly it is sometimes barely audible. Towards the end, the mix is in danger of standing still, but Coco judges it well and picks things up with Ladytron and Erlend Oye.

Rob Da Bank’s selection is even better thanks to the humour value – tracks such as Kraak En Smaak‘s Money In The Bag will raise a laugh, whilst at the other end of the scale, Rise Ashen‘s West Coast deep house will leave you totally horizontal. Sweden’s Plej contribute the excellent Lay Of The Land, and The Cure‘s Lullaby sits comfortably towards the close.

There’s the feeling that a lot of effort has gone into planning and compiling this album, and some of the mixing is exceptionally good. Strongly recommended for those who want something a bit off the beaten track to unwind with.



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