Entertainment :: Theatre

Defected in the House: Miami 06

by Alex R. Mayer
Thursday Apr 20, 2006
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Each winter, the Dance Music community (music makers and music fans alike) makes a pilgrimage to Miami Beach for the Winter Music Conference, a week of non-stop parties at every club, hotel and strip of beach available. It is an opportunity to hear the very best new music; the hot tracks of the moment and future anthems.

For those who couldn’t make it this year, or for those who just couldn’t keep track of all the tunes they heard, London-based Defected Records has put together In The House Miami 2006, a guide to the essential Miami selections. The seven year-old label has quickly become one of the leading dance labels in the world, thanks in no small part to their diverse roster which spans the spectrum from Deep House and Disco, to wailing Divas and smooth vocalists to Tribal beats and everywhere else in between. When Defected puts out a compilation, the world listens.

Disc one represents a sunset vibe, the beginning of Defected’s all-day-all-night party at Miami’s Nikki Beach club. Things get off to a decidedly Disco start with the irresistible Dimitri From Paris remix of Ron Hall’s The Way You Love Me, a smooth-as-silk ballad (and an ode to Barry White) that was heard multiple times throughout the week.

With such a range of sounds represented on this compilation, Defected founder and DJ Simon Dunmore presents a near-perfect musical journey. Balanced with pensive instrumentals (Ian Pooley) and percussive, Latin-steeped Tribal stompers (from Soul Journey and Funkanala) that allow the listener to lose themselves in the music, and vocal tracks that capture a peak-time dance floor vibe, such as Jay-J and Charlene Moore’s uplifting With Him, a Gospel experience complete with a brilliant, wailing organ track. Even the melodic nature of Bah Samba’s largely instrumental Let the Drums Speak connects with the listener in a way that brings them back to life on dance floor, out of a drum-induced trance.

As the sun goes down, a nocturnal vibe takes over the dance floor and disc two presents a peak time experience complete with powerful productions and evocative lyrics. This disc seems to hold the strongest tracks, including Blaze and Barbara Tucker who are still riding the massive success of Most Precious Love, this year with a bouncy, fuzzy, dub remix courtesy of Sergio Flores.

UK production duo Copyright will whip any dance floor into frenzy with Bring Me Love, which features a classic vocal performance by Imaani. Also of note are new power-soul tracks from the MuthaFunkaz (I Don’t Love You Any More) and Jamie Lewis (It’s Over).

The Oslo remix of Bobby D’Ambrosio’s "Runaway Love" sparkles with lush keyboard and horn arrangements, evoking a mixture of 70s Disco and classic 90s House. Quentin Harris employs a deep, underwater vibe contrasted with Byron Stingily’s soaring vocals on Hate Won’t Change Me while Dennis Ferrer creates an African Tribal Funk vibe on Change the World.

Disc three is more experimental, with the soulful, spiritual groove of Copyright’s "He Is" seeming out of place alongside tougher, Electro tracks from Danny J. Lewis (Ballistica) and S.U.M.O. (Claude Monnet’s remix of Nini). These tracks represent Defected’s drive to keep House music fresh and exciting by constantly pushing the envelope. Even the lush, summery vibe of Julien Jabre’s Swimming Places is given a heavy-handed beat and a murky, brooding groove on Jerome Sydenham’s remix. This disc is more advanced listening, for people who want to challenge their ears, and who aren’t afraid to get lost in thought on the dance floor.

Disco, Funk, Gospel, Soul and tough Electro beats; Miami’s Winter Music Conference literally offers something for everyone. Defected Records does the same, keeping the roots of House music alive through forward-thinking and diverse sounds.

by Various

Defected Records, Released in the US April 18, 2006, 3CD set, $24.98

Alex R. Mayer is a freelance music journalist based in Providence, RI. He also serves as Features Editor for the international online House music magazine JJazproJect.com, which can be found at http://www.jjazproject.com


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