There has been both a proliferation of smaller start-up labels, especially in America, that are helping to fuel the revival of the 80's boogie sound and elements of classic house. Headquartered in the nation's capital, Future Times is a prime example; with a small group of internal artists releasing music under a variety of aliases (Beautiful Swimmers, Protect-U, Maximillion Dunbar, Rhythm Based Lovers) and gaining attention from across the disco-house sphere. Their music is a grab bag of disparate influences, and it can be easily heard in the wide-ranging Vibe 2 compilation, released in September 2011.
All 4 sides of the album offer completely different tracks each time, with little flow if listened to in order. Starting off with a scattered uneasy cut-up house jam from L.I.E.S. and Maximiilion Dunbar, we are assaulted with Tom Noble's 'Malaco', a slice of blown out analogue fuzz that sounds as if it were beamed from some Brooklyn basement in 1987. Alexis Le-Tan gives us some serious workout funk with 'Marathon Man', almost steel in its harsh drum grooves and military chant. On the other vinyl, Juju and Jordash's 'Musketache' is a lost brother of I:Cube's 'Falling'; both leisurely moving through a heavy synth space with 707's providing a background of low-slung beats. The always reliable Hunee gives us a good solid piece that is reminiscent of the previous 'Marathon Man' in its 909 and heavy breathing, but this track is more seductive in its approach.
Most of the pieces are moderate in tempo, but there are a few slower cuts on the compilation as well; Confused House delivers a DJ-tool esque drum machine jam, Steve Summers makes a contemplative synth piece more suited for home listening, and Swimmers & Gang gives us another 80's boogie edit to add to the slew of them (although it's still pretty fine). The star piece, however, goes to 'Volatile Memory', an ethereal work by Steve Moore with a drum loop hidden under layers of almost classical synth and distant choral accompaniment, with a lone high synth line rising up out of the ether in the latter half.
Overall, Vibe 2 is an excellent compilation from one of the better new American labels, and is a must-have for anyone who likes variation in their house/disco/whatever.
Vibe 2 is available to purchase on vinyl via Discogs or digitally at Juno Download.
Words by Jason Rule