- Sifting through crates of records in the hope of finding that one amazing track is all well and good, but it's not for everyone. Originals lets someone else do the digging, in this case Swiss producer and all round record-nerd Lexx. Now in its eight edition, this latest compilation brings together a host of thrillingly unlikely tracks.
Lexx is in many ways an ideal candidate to put together such a collection. He's something of a musical polymath. As a producer, he's known as much for his edits of British rock tracks as he is for chuggy house—and that's without mentioning his early career as a rapper, or the chill-out he makes as Lexxodus. However, it's as a DJ that his wide-ranging taste really shines. He operates with a disregard for genres that calls to mind DJ Harvey or Prins Thomas, making for a woozy musical mishmash. In the sleeve notes of the album, Gerd Janson goes as far to describe Lexx as "one of the best selectors and one of the best technically and emotionally creative DJ's I have ever witnessed."
The opening track is typical of the selector's taste. "Coasting," by a Band Called O, is a great slice of tripped-out soft rock. Released as a B-side in 1976, it was more or less overlooked at the time of release, but found a second lease of life when the geeks over at DJ History discovered its hidden Balearic charms. (The original vinyl release, as you might have guessed, is now pretty damned hard to find.) This trend for rare-as-hell tracks continues throughout: from the Japanese house music of Far East Recordings, to West African high-life by Black Light.
What's striking is that this is not all obscurity for obscurity's sake. There's also the inclusion of Larry Heard's "De-Ja Vu," a track that's not hard to get hold of, but must surely be one of the more underrated vocal house records ever made. You can imagine many of these cuts, in the right context, working fantastically on the floor (according to the liner notes, Lexx has made it happen plenty of times). Lexx deserves kudos for sharing his collection in this way, as do Claremont 56 for undertaking what must have been an arduous licensing process. Anyone with even a passing interest in Balearica and left-of-centre dance music you should still take time to check out the Originals series.
01. A Band Called O - Coasting
02. Kash - Percussion Sundance
03. Monette Sudler - Baby Erik (Blackjoy Remix)
04. Soichi Terada - Do It Again
05. Larry Heard - Deja Vu (Remix)
06. Disconnection - Bali Ha'i (UK Discomix)
07. Mariah - Shinzo No Tobira
08. Basa Basa - Black Light
09. The Bayara Citizen - Ju/Ru
10. North South East West - Anxiety
11. Band Of Frequencies - Open Water
12. Mad Professor - People Of Yoruba
13. Rexy - Don't Turn Me Away
14. Dunkelziffer - See It