Marc Romboy & Tommie Sunshine - Systematic Sessions Vol. Two

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  • There are two very different CDs here from Germany's Systematic label, one mixed by label head Marc Romboy and the other by NY fashionista Tommie Sunshine. Tommie Sunshine used to be a ‘celebrity raver’, according to the stories he contributed to Mireille Silcott’s ‘Rave America’ – a thoroughly enjoyable book that I heartily recommend to anyone that likes reading about dance culture. His mix betrays those roots. American rave’s unique character was its over-the-top hedonism and colourful ‘candy-rave’ aesthetic, and despite our living in a very different era, that is the kind of picture that this mix conjures for me. It could certainly be considered ‘cheesy’, but it is cheesy in such a gleefully druggy teenage way that it becomes charming. All the electrohouse clichés are here – chanting jaded voices, chunky off-kilter bass riffs – but always married to a straight-ahead relentless rave sensibility. Booka Shade’s ‘Darko’ stands out as the most musically ‘sophisticated’ moment but that ain’t really the point here. It’s much more about the brutal amphetamine jack of John Acquaviva and Madox’s ‘Feedback’. If I were a seventeen year old in a silly outfit and a head full of cheap ecstasy I’d go nuts to this stuff, and anyone who remembers being like that or who still feels that way could fall in love with this mix. Marc Romboy gives us an altogether more tasteful take on the sounds of now. Indeed this has many of the big tunes of the year on it, and is a great way to relive some of your peak moments of 2006. The M.A.N.D.Y. remix of ‘Damage’ is here, as is Claude VonStroke’s ‘Who’s Afraid of Detroit?’ Most audaciously, Romboy kicks off the mix with anthem of the year ‘Where We At’, a track that most DJs would choose to put at the end of the mix (or the night). This actually turns out to have been an inspired choice as it grabs the attention from the off and leads neatly into the less immediate and more ‘minimal’ early section of the mix, with Gui Boratto’s ‘Arquipelago’ being a delightful inclusion. Big synth riffs abound, but used far more sparingly than on Sunshine’s mix, and Romboy takes us into deeper realms while keeping the energy level high by injecting big tracks where needed. The middle ground is hard to defend, but Romboy hits it squarely and perfectly with this mix. There are elements of everything here, from the pop to the deep, and its fun and varied to listen to while maintaining a good flow (apart from the glaring mis-step of putting Phonique’s stupefyingly dull ‘The River’ immediately between ‘Damage’ and ‘Who’s Afraid of Detroit?’ Most importantly, there is a stunning climax with John Dahlback’s ‘Ooh Oh I E’ giving a convulsive and energetic lead-in to the overwhelming intensity of Radioslave’s remix of ‘Deer in the Headlights’, which will bring back pleasurable memories for many. Romboy’s mix is a great way to remember the big club moments of 2006, and Sunshine’s has a particular, if limited, charm. So, in the words of Kompakt, tip!