Monday, September 25, 2006

Mark Farina - Sessions (Ministry of Sound)

leave my head alone brain, get me through the night

It’s timely that Mark Farina’s - Sessions arrives on my doorstep only a day after seeing him play at Finetuned's latest Beat Boutique party. Timely because I'm still glowing from a top night out, a night that reminded me of all the positive and wonderful aspects of being in a dark room at a time I'd rather be sleeping.

Beat Boutique like Mr Farina, reminds one of a time and spirit now sadly lacking (devoid?) in much/some of today’s club land, the vibe and sense of community one not just experienced but grew to associate and expect from a night out, as Finetuned's parties continue to remind us... fitting that Mark Farina has just played at such a party.

With a history that spans over 15 years, Mark Farina by all rights should be past his use by date, for dance is a ever evolving medium, a music and style for now, one that is always looking forward to tomorrow. A musical and club environment that caters to youth far better than for those to whom mortgages, children and early morning meetings take precedence, yet with every 'youth' movement of merit dance has shown its willingness to embrace the old whilst catering to the young Perhaps its a young at heart thing or maybe for many the commercially driven aspect of dance culture and general culture, never ruined the vibe or turned them off what they first found at a club and continue to seek (or at least make the most of when its offered), be it via the music or simply in a club/party environment.

It says a lot about that culture that is house, and dance in general, when our heroes have been so for such a long-time, a testament to their forward vision and technical prowess. Or is it, perhaps those whom have been around for such a long-time are either simply too stupid or well rewarded to get a proper day job...thus retain their standing amongst their younger peers... or more to the point these visionaries have something more, something that makes then possibly unique in our ever changing club and music world. They haven't lost their interest and most importantly passion for this thing called house. If they weren't still pioneering a style that still works both musically and at a party level they would be working that bank job or whatever. Some, like Farina, haven't stopped progressing (or is that regressing?) as a DJ and selector. The musical style continues to evolve as do they, that is a wonderful thing... and this is well showcased on this discs.

Now those who enjoy and like a DJ mix CD to be a journey, best be on your way, for Farina's CDs are pretty much a club set, straight into the action no fucking about, for those wanting a gentle entry into these CDs might I suggest you find a fitting warm up mix... for on Farina's CDs one simply gets 36 cuts of jacking, boompty goodness mixed live, no computer trickery or tweeking, just straight up house mixed for the floor.

All the names one associates with this, cough, cough, splutter, underground (wonbling free) house style are found here in the mix; Sneak, Slater & Hogan, Iz & Diz, Bryan Jones, Joey youngman contributing tracks with various remixes from; our own Majik Johnson, Joshua, Cajmere (Can't wait for the next sessions, Cajmere vs Green Velvet out Oct 2nd), JT Donaldson, Patrick Turner and my beloved Greenskeepers.

The mix is what I'd call solid, there's no trickery or super clever stuff being done in the mix, for that’s not Farina's style, rather the mix is just right. Farina keeps the groove solid, the vibe upbeat and most importantly from my couch, its toe tappingly fun.

From my initial listen there's no anthems here, no tune that steals the show, which will no doubt mean these CDs may not gain the props nor critics stars that others can and do. For those who like, this style of house, clubbing, like to party and like to dance however, these two discs are the perfect ingredient for those coming summer nights when the home is converted in to a mini club, the furniture pushed aside and one gets down with friends for a night of merriment - possibly after a BBQ and day at the beach.

This couldn't be further from what many of us associate with MOS releases - especially them Aussie mutations’ - and that alone is a good thing. Like others in the rejuvenated Sessions series, Mark Farina's release is a reminder of what dance music is about, dance - the music and the action.

If Chicago influenced house is ya thing then this double CD set is a must have... cheers Mark Farina, Finetuned and Matt Stuart.. now to push play again...

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