Various (mixed by Giles Smith & James Priestly) - secretsundaze Volume 1
On Secretsundaze Volume 1, founders and resident DJs, Giles Smith and James Priestly, go head to head, or at least get a disc each to demonstrate their taste and mixing credentials.
Smith takes his time, but in a skilled, party-building way. A couple of dubby opening tracks give way to deep house (special mention to the lovely Johnick Planet). The beats per minute get a bit faster in the second half as straighter house tunes (e.g. Love and Happiness (X-press 2 Supadub)) are thrown on the decks. However, this is a mix which would no doubt work as well for eyes-shut headphone listening as for dancing to.
Priestly also takes the subtle build approach. His first few tracks have a definite chilled Balearic feel (check the guitar on The Basics (Smokin Pasties Remix by The Mole & Dhula)). There's some fine house music up until the halfway point, after which Priestly adopts an eclecticism which doesn't always work: Lost Again (Greg Wilson edit) with its House of Horror organ; 2 Bullets, a so-so slice of punk-funk; and the ultra-camp disco monster Feel The Drive. The latter flies in the face of the restrained cool and good taste of much of the rest of these two discs, but, as final choice, that is probably the point.
Still, this is a minor issue. Secretsundaze manages to be sophisticated and trainspottery without being up its own arse. Smith and Priestly's understanding of the art of sequencing, coupled with the warm musical vibes, make it a seductive double mix. Roll on Volume 2.