- I have been a great fan of Azuli’s Choice: A Collection of Classics albums I must confess. Hearing the likes of Derrick Carter, Tony Humphries and John Digweed compile their favourite tracks that have made them the DJ’s that they are today is always inspiring, and now the Azuli crew have added another superb choice to the mixer with Danny Howells now digging deep into his collection to deliver an array of classic productions from yesteryear. Having witnessed a Danny Howells after party compiling of Danny smoothly putting records from the 60’s right through to the current era, this mix was always going to be interesting.
The first disc begins with Danny Howells displaying some very smooth classics, with the likes of ‘Carino 90’ by T-Coy unleashing some smooth piano lines and delicate drums. The vocal stylings ‘You’re Gonna Miss Me’ by Turntable Orchestra has a classic Danny Howells feel to it while two production by Fire Island show us how much these guys had an impact of Hastings born Howells. “Tha” Wild Pitch mix of ‘Give a Little Love’ is a superb inclusion, flowing in its full 10 minute glory filled with some superb drums and funky riffs.
Todd Terry’s mix of PM Dawn sums up the superb funky vibe this first disc has while Ce CE Peniston’s ‘Keep Givin’ Me Your Love’ is one of my personal highlights in a mix that looks set to end of in a stunning way. There is a little tough acid like interlude, first with ‘Oracion’ and then the Magical Trance Remix of ‘Hocus Pocus’. The bouncy basslines of ‘Painkiller’ by Slack are purely addictive, and the finale is a superb ‘Renaissance’ esque Ambient mix of Ready For Dead, a track that concludes an overall smooth mix that underlines a lot of Danny’s early set antics in the modern day.
The Howells edit of ‘Space Face’ by Sub Sub is a superb way to begin the next disc, filled with smooth string patterns and funky riffs. Coldcut’s brilliant ‘Timber’ is a stunning inclusion, showing us what pioneers Coldcut were in their time. Japan’s ‘Ghosts’ is a interesting inclusion, slowing the mix to standing pace with the quirky vocals and eerie sounds of the 70’s UK outfit. Danny Howells own mix of The Temptations ‘Papa Was a Rolling Stone’ keeps the smooth flow going midway into the second disc.
The beats get rolling again with Faze Action’s superb ‘Plans & Designs’, a track masterfully filled with some stunning string patterns and tribal like drum patterns. There are two quickfire inclusions by Livin Joy’s Visnadi, giving the mix a slightly tougher edge with some chunky house while Orbital’s classic ‘Impact’ makes just that, taking the mix up a notch with some mind tripping sounds and effects. ‘Mad Monks on Zinc’ is eerie yet undeniably brilliant with its quirky piano line and haunting pads and effects. The Black Science Orchestra provide a nice little interlude into the final production, Carly Simon’s 80’s classic smooth club anthem, ‘Why’.
Much like Danny Howells, this album is interesting in so many ways. It has some great productions that are cutting edge, timeless and enchanting, while it has some more mainstream dare I say it ‘cheesier’ moments that make the album so much more rewarding as it culminates so delightfully. It is another superb edition to this vibrant series, a series that by its nature shouldn’t be as cutting edge as some more modern albums, but still continually is with each edition.