The Phantom Tollbooth

Eclectica Three Continous House Mix
Artist: Various
Label: N*Soul
Time: 66:09

Should an album touted as a "continous house mix" be reviewed from a mixing perspective, or on the merit of the songs? I decided that the merit of the songs would carry the majority of my decision with what's left over going to the DJ skills. The "Eclectica" collections are a great way for all my fellow ravers out there to find out about independent dance artists and also inform you of who's spinning what. N*Soul has been consistent with the quality of artists they showcase, but a few stragglers seem to mosey in every now and then, and this CD isn't any different.

There are some great artists on this CD who should branch off into the full-length feature album world. The best two were also the best from Eclectica 2: DJ Darryl with DJ c3po and Audity. DJ Darryl was solo on the last album but his partner blends in just fine. I like their funky spastic style beats. They show no regard for flow and use beat disruption to their favor. They had too much funk for this CD, but it did add a unique flavor to an otherwise "normal" album. And then there is Audity. He's put fat tracks on all three albums and he has the potential to take this tech scene to the next level. This time he mingled around with a DJ Dan style house groove before breaking off into a speed-garage anthem. For most people it will be their first time hearing that style, and he does a nice job of introducing it. If you like that style then three tracks later you get to hear Antidote mess around with it a little as they deliver a nice track.

Christian techno is sounding good. There are many nice surprises on the album, like the dark techno groove by No Laughing Matter. Psalmistry represents the UK with a nice progressive track. Of course, there are always a few tracks in a compilation this size that don't quite fit the groove, and a few tracks that seemed outdated. This collection should be what's up and coming, not what used to be. On their own, the songs, stand fine, but they didn't fit the style of the mix and a few tracks should have stayed in demo form rather than embarrass the artists.

I lament for DJ Lamech. Most DJ's pick the tracks that go well together, songs that they like and mix them, but Lamech had to mix what he was given. The main goal of being a DJ is to mix so the listener can't tell when one song ends and one begins, to keep the flow as smooth and sublime as possible, but this CD is too choppy to do that. Sometimes I was in shock because the song break was so extreme--a nice trance cut coldly interrupted with a cheesy deep house song-and in the process of mixing everything, a bunch of songs were cut in hall, one listing was even left off! Leave it alone next time and let us hear all the artists have to play.

Justin W. Jones 8/26/99