- Stretch a compilation series past its second volume and chances are you're going to run into problems. Note that I said compilations, not mixes—there, either changing up the styles and DJs (a la Fabric and DJ-Kicks), or just waiting a while between titles (see Michael Mayer's Immer trio), can enliven things over time. But compilation series tend to run on a single basic idea, and those tend to out of steam as dance culture shifts focus while the guiding principles behind the comps remain more or less the same.
It's not surprising that the third installment of Lo's Milky Disco series is its most uneven. Truth be told, the first two were spotty as well. But the first volume in particular also felt very of its moment—2007, right in the teeth of an upswing in slo-mo, cosmic disco and latter-day Balearica. All of that seems much more entrenched in 2010, and as a result, Milky Disco 3 seems less a crystallization than commentary from the sidelines.
I'm a critic, so it should go without saying that sideline commentary is something I root for. But in this album's case, that lack of momentum gives it a kind of rudderless quality that the first volume largely sidestepped (and the second, to a lesser degree). That, and few of the participants bring their A-game. The nadir might be Soft Rocks' "Bobby's Revenge": Mellowed-down electro with a whistle-pitched synth hook over whapping drums that runs its one tiny idea—worthy of a very short album track—into the ground for seven-and-a-half minutes. Just because you can doesn't mean you should.
Still, the sharper angles on that track is a staple of many others here as well—the milk is starting to curdle, which puts the smoother stuff into sharper relief. Most of Milky Disco 3's highlights come from pieces that hew largely toward the same late '70s synths and mid-'80s glide that kicked the project off in the first place: Ichisan's gleaming "Space Patrol," Beat Broker's dewy, pointillist mix of Hatchback's "Comets," Moscow's acidic "Deep Heat." The dub of Black Devil Disco Club's "For Hoped" has an appealing air of mystery that goes well alongside its consistently shifting arrangement, the most changeable on the collection. And Oneohtrix Point Never's simple, lovely "Astral Project T.I.N.A." takes things out with appropriately starry-eyed synth runs that seem purposeful, however much they drift. I wish I could say the same for the comp as a whole.
01. Leo Zero - Carbon Cave
02. Ghostape - I Feel Your Soul
03. Jonny Nash - Metabolic
04. Hatchback - Comets (The Beat Broker's Colors of the Club Mix)
05. Ichisan - Space Patrol
06. Soft Rocks - Bobby's Revenge
07. Telespazio - Closer Space
08. Brassica - Made Up My Mind
09. Black Devil Disco Club - For Hoped (Dub)
10. COS/MES - Iron Deck
11. Moscow - Deep Heat
12. Oneohtrix Point Never - Astral Project T.I.N.A.
CD 2 - Mixed by Jon Tye
01. Telespazio - Closer Space
02. Jonny Nash - Metabolic
03. In Flagranti - Preceding Stairs
04. Soft Rocks - Bobby's Revenge
05. NDV - Touchy Philly
06. Coyote - Cactus
07. Black Devil Disco Club - For Hoped (Dub)
08. Ichisan - Space Patrol
09. Weirdo Police - Missed Wish
10. Hatchback - Comets (the Beat Broker's Colors of the Club Mix)
11. Ghostape - I Feel Your Soul
12. Leo Zero - Carbon Cave
13. COS/MES - Iron Deck
14. The Flying Sapphire - Behemoth (Maelstrom Acid Dub)
15. Moscow - Deep Heat
16. Black Mustang - Blackout Part 2
17. Oneohtrix Point Never - Japan Display