- Firmly established at the forefront of London's party scene, the clear next step for Secretsundaze was to launch a label. But far from the overreaching aims of some, the duo of Giles Smith and James Priestly have done it modestly: Their release schedule consisted of one mix CD (Secretsundaze Volume 1) and one 12-inch to cap off their 2007 season, and the same to start the 2008 campaign. And now, with the successful end of the party for 2008, we have Smith and Priestly's Volume 2, another double CD set that captures the essence of their live sets.
On the first disc, Smith blends together time-honoured, classic house tracks with up-front numbers to sophisticated effect. His mixing is virtually seamless, merging the tunes into one another to subtly build his way though the disc. He opens the proceedings with a journey into the smokier side of house with assured productions by Urban Force and Claro Intelecto before delivering the bass-infused grooves of Radio Slave's remix of Mr. G's "Sometimes I Cry" and the forever young "Montana Freight Train" by Lawson, Finlow and Cappello. Smith also unveils his latest track with Martin Dawson as Two Armadillos, "Hawthorne's Theme," a slice of jazzed-up house music.
From there, the mix slips into a trance-inducing, eerie realm courtesy of Cassy and then Scott Grooves, whose hypnotic "Only 500" creeps along unassumingly only to become a driving, menacing affair. Smith then takes on a more percussive vibe with funky tracks from Brothers Vibe and Guillaume and The Coutu Dumonts before bringing things down with another polished Two Armadillos track, the super smooth "Hamlin." This sets the mood for the closing of the mix where Smith throws in a truly refined, deep number from Rozzo and "The Morning Factory" by Ron Trent and Chez Damier, an absolute classic that still manages to sound fresh today.
Like last year, James Priestley takes the second disc and, like his counterpart, manages to successfully maintain the balance between old and new. His melodic mix offers more of a sunkissed, vocal-friendly approach, encompassing disco, soul and funk, all tinged with a house sentiment. After setting off with the breezy house classic "Walk On Air" by Holy Ghost Inc., Priestley immediately finds his funky vibe with disco cuts from Lindbaek and James Pants. From disco he moves into soul-inspired house with Barltan Love Express' jubilant "Theme" and a vivacious Afefe Iku production.
Things then start to bounce along with funky tribal flavours coming from Sety's excellent "Magane" and yet another Afefe Iku percussive track. With the tempo heightened, Priestley decides to delve into more subby, underground territory, including Playgroup's swirling acid dub of The Rapture's "I Need Your Love" and Johhny D's rolling chunky remix of "Disorientation" by Guy Gerber. "Acadian" by The Mole builds up tension, aptly leading us to "Psychotic Photosynthesis," Omar-S' synth-laden chiller. Priestley finishes off the mix with his and Dan Berkson's laidback, blissed out remix of Robert Owens' aptly titled, "Happy."
With Volume 2, Secretsundaze have once again proven their commitment to fresh and exciting house and techno. It's the best type of history lesson: While the duo clearly pays homage to the past, they also expertly connect those tracks to the present. And just as these tunes perfectly complement one another, so do Smith and Priestly, with the former taking a darker tone before the latter brings us into sunlight on the second disc. Smith and Priestly's aim with SS Vol. 2 is to leave us with something to remember them by before the 2009 season begins—and to celebrate the success of 2008. And that's exactly what they've done.
CD 1 (Giles Smith)
01. Urban Force - Untitled 2 (Mike Huckaby remix)
02. Claro Intelecto - Patience
03. Mr G - Sometimes I Cry (Radio Slave remix)
04. Finlow, Lawson, Capello - Montana Freight Train
05. Motorbass - Ezio
06. Two Armadillos - Hawthorne's Theme
07. Cassy - Idle Blues
08. Scott Grooves - Only 500
09. Brothers Vibe - Step Into It
10. Guillaume and The Cotu Dumonts - The Flying Dutchman
11. Two Armadillos - Hamlin
12. Nagano Kitchen - No Traffic In Nagano
13. Rozzo - Azzuro
14. Ron Trent and Chez Damier - The Morning Factory
CD 2 (James Priestley)
01. Holy Ghost Inc - Walk On Air
02. Lindbaek & Lindstrom - Alien in My Pocket (Lindbaek's Extended Disco Version)
03. James Pants - We're Through
04. Barltan Love Express - Theme
05. Afefe Iku - Mirror Dance
06. Sety - Mogane (Guillaume & The Coutu Dumonts Remix)
07. Afefe Iku - Bodydrummin'
08. Ronnie Parker - Bongcong Combination
09. The Rapture - I Need Your Love (Playgroup Dub)
10. Guy Gerber - Disorientation (Johnny D Remix)
11. The Mole - Acadian
12. Omar S - Psychotic Photosynthesis
13. Robert Owens - Happy (James Priestley & Dan Berkson Remix)