VARIOUS A Compilation Atlantic Jaxx (Atlantic Jaxx)

Atlantic Jaxx is the label founded by Ratcliffe and Felix B, the duo more popularly known as Basement Jaxx, and "A Compilation Atlantic Jaxx" cherry picks from the imprint's 1994-7 output. The real option to own for me was the inclusion of Basement Jaxx's seminal "Fly Life", a thumping, filter-strangled one note symphony to urban paranoia and confusion, although another Jaxx mix compilation veteran, "Samba Magic", was also familiar. The remainder, both the Jaxx's own material and contributions by Corrina Joseph, The Heartists and Ronnie Richards, is served up from the same bubbling cauldron of salsa, big beat, hip hop and soul that made Basement Jaxx's debut album "Remedy" and their recently televised Glastonbury appearance such a colourful but ultimately frustrating, self-referential mess. It's almost as if they design albums to function as the perfect half-remembered party-in-a-box, the kind of music that, listened to cold, sounds all too much like other people having a good time. When they play with something akin to techno purity, as on "Fly Life", Ratcliffe and Felix B can produce genuinely astounding music; conversely, when they let their imaginations run riot, the result merely seems confused.