Album Reviews: Ursadelica by Ursula 1000After proliferating like crabgrass for the better part of a decade, that bastard stepchild of the conventional album, the DJ mix compilation, is in serious trouble. Most high-profile mixes in recent years have been either formulaic, anonymous collections of sub-sub-genres of dance music so esoteric (tribal progressive house, anyone?) that every track sounds almost exactly the same, or they've been tacky club hit comps that any idiot with two turntables and a Virgin Megastore gift certificate could recreate at home.
Thank god, then, for DJs like Ursula 1000's Alex Gimeno, a crate-digger extraordinaire who deftly avoids both monotony and familiarity on his second mix CD, Ursadelica. The Ursula 1000 sound is built around tracks that blend elements of big beat and loungetronica; in other words, think Fatboy Slim meets Thievery Corporation. It's a style of music that's less about showy deck skills than it is about smart track selection and sequencing, and on these points Gimeno is at the top of his game here. There's really not a weak track among the 20, which run the gamut from the bossa nova bounce of Dr. Rubberfunk's "Bossa for the Devil" to the funky Latin jazz of Settebello Unlimited's "Charrango" to the retro boogie of Joe Bataan's "Chick a Boom."
Top-notch tunes from The Bees and Don Tiki show up here as well, but Ursadelica is less about familiar names than it is about great grooves for the dirty martini crowd. Throw it on at your next soiree and watch how fast even your most straight-laced friends start shaking their money-makers. - Andy Hermann
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