There is something immensely gratifying about digging through a crate of old records you've never heard, looking for that hidden gem long forgotten by a musically impatient society. Sampling old music has become its own genre, where taking pieces of old recordings and arranging them in an aural collage was the norm. Albums of this nature, such as DJ Shadow's Endtroducing or the Avalanches' Since I Left You brought the magic of crate-digging out of the dusty basement and into the squinty-eyed light.
Instead of taking a fragment of a song and putting into a new context, compilations can be a form of crate-digging that features songs in their original forms, making them an important piece in a larger body. This is the case with German electronic duo Boozoo Bajou's Juke Joint II, a sequel to its 2003 release. The album has similarities to its predecessor; it has a loose, casual feeling between its tracks, and it would go really well with vodka coolers at the beach on a warm summer evening (yes, that's a hint). The first Juke Joint LP had tracks from such acts as Groove Armada, John Lee Hooker, and Primal Scream. This time around, though, the duo ventured deeper into the crates, moving further into dustier, more obscure territory. Selections such as the Konono No.1-esque Mulatu Astatque's "Emnete" or dub style of Dennis Bovell's "Rowing" add a flavor of diversity to the overall mix.
Of course, that can have a downside. The choice of Josh Rouse's "Comeback" as the closer is puzzling. It doesn't fit with the other songs on this record, but not in a pleasantly surprising way. "Medicine" by Mark Rae is also a strange track choice, although it does work better that Rouse's among the other tracks in the mix.
But the best moments on the disc come courtesy of Boozoo Bajou members Peter Heider and Florian Seyberth themselves; in particular, their collaboration with the Stones Throw's excellent Oh No on "Back Up," one of the best hip-hop track's of the past few months. Heider and Seyberth also contribute one more exclusive track, "Pflug," as well as remixes of Tony Joe White and Gecko Turner.
Juke Joint II could be the best compilation of the summer, with its range of sounds and styles; the duo has masterfully selected the songs and arranged them with a vision in mind. Boozoo Bajou does all the crate-digging for you, freeing up time for you to sit at the beach with your friends, enjoying a truly memorable collection of sounds.
Band (streaming audio): http://www.boozoobajou.com/
Label: http://www.k7.com/Audio: http://myspace.com/boozoobajou
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