Various - Rebirth 10 Compiled And Mixed By Larry Heard AKA Mr. Fingers

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  • Larry Heard rarely records for Rebirth, but the veteran producer and the Italian label have something in common. Heard has spent three decades refining the emotional jack of his '80s-era work as Mr. Fingers into a hushed, heady sound, making the occasional excursion into jazzy bounce or rhythmic toughness. You could apply that same description to the music that Rebirth has been exploring over the past decade. The label, founded by Daniele "Shield" Contrini in 2006, is marking its tenth birthday with the Rebirth 10 compilation, and recruited Heard for mixing duties. Over its lifespan, Rebirth has released well over 100 singles and dozens of albums, and Heard seems to have crammed as many of those releases as he could into this set, with 46 cuts on two CDs. There's a wealth of warm pads, floating arpeggios, gently pulsing bass and piano—lots and lots of piano, ranging from shimmering Rhodes to chiming grands. The downside is that many of the tracks zoom by as soon as they have a chance to register. The music's inherent warmth makes you wish Heard had more room to let the songs breathe; a cut as rich as Tevo Howard's "Crazy Love" could stretch far longer than the couple of minutes allotted without overstaying its welcome. On the other hand, Heard's brisk mixing makes things more exciting, which, in the face Rebirth's pillowy comfort, is probably a good thing. For ears accustomed to clean, hyper-edited transitions, some of the blends might sound a bit, well, messy. There's occasional collisions of what might be considered mismatched keys, melodies or instruments, as when "Crazy Love" segues uneasily into the bass-led boogie of Telespazio's remix of "Fox In The Box" by UND. But others will nonetheless appreciate Heard's made-by-hand mixing approach. When it works the payoff is high: the way Contrini's swooning edit of James Teej's "Night Wears Thin" slides gracefully into the gentle throb of Chromatic Filters' "Horizon Stripes (Jamie 3:26 Re-Whump)" is dreamy magic. Silver City's rubber-band groove on their version of Freaks' "Right Now" (featuring longtime Heard cohort Robert Owens on the mic); the swampy strut and bayou vocals of Heard's remix of "Say You Won't Ever" by Wallflower; the circular bassline and classical-jazz keyboard in the Robytek vs Shield edit of "The Infamous" by Butch & C.Vogt—these are all subtle, hit-the-spot emotive moments, no matter how they're mixed. The real payoff comes on the second disc, particularly its second half. It's Rebirth 10's most club-oriented section, with Heard giving the tracks a bit more space and letting them cruise towards the finish line at their own pace. Tunes like Tevo Howard's fluttering take on Stefano Testa's "Manetta's Fine Food," or Roland Appel's bass-fueled remix of Robytek's "Luna Africana," may not be the heaviest cuts around, but they're among the toughest in the Rebirth canon, providing Heard's mix with a welcome bit of propulsive force. The two final songs, Rennie Foster's "Devil's Water" and the piano reprise of Square Mode's introspective "The Wheel," serve almost as delicate grace notes, a chance to catch one's breath after the two-and-a-half-hour set. Even with its elegant finish, Rebirth 10 isn't the smoothest ride around—there are more than a few bumps along the way, despite the buffed edges on most tracks. But Heard makes it all feel exhilarating, giving the music a liveliness that a glossier rendition might have missed.
  • Tracklist
      CD1 01. Bocca Grande - Procedere 2011 (Reprise) 02. Chromatic Filters - Slow Emotions 03. Chromatic Filters - Evolving 04. T-Polar - Crossroads 05. Ruby - Anna (You Get The Best Of Me) (Tevo Howard Mix) 06. Bocca Grande - Procedere 2011 07. NUfrequency - Fallen Hero feat. Ben Onono (Motor City Drum Ensemble Remix) 08. Bocca Grande - Even If (Morning Factory Remix) 09. Chromatic Filters - Slow Emotions (Mark E Dub) 10. Agoria - For One Hour feat. Scalde 11. Chris Turner - FlyLOVE (Andrés Remix) 12. Dolphin Boy - Don't Stop (Soul Clap Remix) 13. Yotam Avni - Pentimento / Akra - Pure (Rising Sun Melancholia) 14. System Of Survival - Blueglass 15. Freaks - Right Now feat. Robert Owens (Silver City Remix) 16. NUfrequency - Promised feat. Shara Nelson (Charles Webster Dub Mix) 17. Tevo Howard - Crazy Love 18. UND - Fox In The Box (Telespazio Remix) 19. NUfrequency - Go That Deep feat. Shara Nelson (Skylark Vocal Mix) 20. James Teej - Night Wears Thin (Shield Extended Cut) 21. Chromatic Filters - Horizon Stripes (Jamie 3:26 Re-Whump) 22. Jesse Futerman - Betrayal (Love Is Misery) (Shield Re-Edit) 23. Tevo Howard - Boing Pop (Outboxx Remix) 24. Tevo Howard - Without Me feat. Tracey Thorn 25. Wallflower - Say You Won't Ever (Larry Heard Underground Mix) 26. A:xus - Suite Disappointment (Motorcitysoul Remix) 27. Corrado Bucci - Open Your Eyes (Andrés Remix) 28. And If - Lead You To Heaven (Finest Dream) feat. Alison Limerick (Manuel Tur Around Dub) CD2 01. Julian Sanza - Bolumen 02. Akra - Pure (Lake People Remix) 03. Bocca Grande - Even If (Mr. Fingers Remix) 04. Villanova - Monk 05. James Teej - Spending Life (Ripperton's Hyperlove Dub) 06. Wallflower - Manifest (Rampa Remix) 07. Freaks - Wake Up (Album Mix) 08. Marc Romboy & Bajka - Reciprocity 09. Tevo Howard - Without Me feat. Tracey Thorn (Marcus Worgull Dub / Dixon Edit) 10. Butch & C.Vogt - The Infamous / (Robytek Vs Shield Edit) 11. James Teej - Spending Life (Affkt & Danny Fiddo Remix) 12. Stefano Testa - Manetta’s Fine Food (Tevo Howard’s Club Cut) 13. Robytek - Luna Africana (Roland Appel Remix) 14. Djuma Soundsystem - Bipolar (dOP Morning Remix) 15. Alison Marks - Descendance (Shield Re-Edit) 16. Akra - Salt & Pepper 17. Rennie Foster - Devil's Water (Reprise) 18. Square Mode - The Wheel (Original Piano Reprise)