- In age of microfocused tastes, rare is the album that can appeal to a multitude of clubland tribes. That's doubly true when it comes to label compilations. Nowadays, most labels tend to focus their output with laser-like precision, releasing tracks for the often-tiny niche market that sucks up their every release. Moon Harbour, upon first consideration, would seem to be such a label: Founded by Matthias Tanzmann in 2000, it definitely has a sound, one that wedges into the small, whirling eddy where throbby techno, deep house and tribal rhythms rush past each other. But it's from that spot, documented on the new Moon Harbour Inhouse Vol. 3 comp mixed by Martinez, that Moon Harbour sings a siren song that's capable of mesmerizing everyone from determined minimalists to fans of party-time Latin- and Afro-house rhythms.
That's a pretty wide swathe, but there's an antecedent to pulling this off. The shared template of many of the album's cuts—recent releases and previously unreleased material from the likes of Gregor Thresher, Boris Werner and Mathias Kaden—is reminiscent of Murk's early '90s productions, which back in the day managed to work the dance floor for bitch track enthusiasts, ravers and soulful-house heads. Murk, much like Moon Harbour's artists, based their music's appeal on percolating, vaguely Latin rhythms draped atop pulsating basslines, with nary a melody or breakdown to impede the momentum. Werner's "Feel Good" practically is a Murk track; lose yourself in its thumping propulsion, and you could almost be grooving along to an Interceptor or Coral Way Chiefs record, albeit one that's more densely packed and imbued with the cleaner feel that modern production technique affords. It's a sound with immense drive, one that's aided by Martinez's clean and smooth, no-frills mix. (The Swedish DJ/producer, whose subtle, pared-down "Blue Lagoon" kicks off the album, seems to have become the go-to guy for label compilations; he's also done mixed retrospectives for Audiomatique and his own Out Of Orbit.)
None of this is to say that Moon Harbour is a one-trick pony of a label. There's some degree of variation in these tunes: Kaden's "Musica," for example, amps the Latin vibe to the max, while Dan Drastic and Chris Lattner's "Two in One," is a tough dub-houser. Still, most of the mix is of a piece, and it's not until the final three tracks that the collection makes much of a left turn. Tanzmann's "Left Behind," Dot's "Kinda Strange" and "Swing City" from Luna City Express are almost what could be considered variations of traditional tech-house—but perfectly placed at the end of this mix, they offer a sweet release to a fevered and funky set.
01. Martinez - Blue Lagoon
02. Seuil - Double Room
03. Boris Werner - Feel Good
04. Matthias Tanzmann - Rugby (Mathias Kaden Penalty Kick Remix)
05. Mathias Kaden - Musica
06. Dan Drastic & Chris Lattner - Two in One
07. Matthias Tanzmann - Love-Shaped Feeling (Reboot Rework)
08. Gregor Trescher - Break New Soil
09. Luna City Express - Seven (Agnes Club Mix)
10. Matthias Tanzmann - Keep On
11. Martinez - Momomowha...
12. Dan Drastic - Slice Of Life
13. Vera - Hooked Up With Da Drums
14. Matthias Tanzmann - Left Behind
15. Dot - Kinda Strange
16. Luna City Express - Swing City