Various Artists

Beats & Pieces, Vol. 2

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AllMusic Review by

BBE label manager Peter Adarkwah once again assembles a highly specialized and discerning double-disc package of up-to-date club tracks for the second volume of Beats & Pieces. This beats any possible backwards-glancing compilation of rare, early-2000s dance music to the punch by picking recent, typically vinyl-only productions from humble, small-time labels; like most of the releases in the BBE catalog, this is a labor of love consisting of labors of love, a compilation that works wonders for music fans who aren't quick enough to snap up small pressings before they become impossible to locate. One of the brightest lights of deep underground house, Osunlade, is represented with all 13 minutes of "Cantos a Ochun et Oya," a track that ably fits countless elements without sounding the least bit jumbled. Romanthony's "Bring U Up" is one of the best impersonations of Prince impersonating James Brown one is likely to hear, a fleet-of-foot funk groove with horn punches and tightly wound guitar flecks. AfterGlow's "Jujazwarfare," originally distributed by François K's Wave label, is an all-too-brief jazz-house track with glistening synths. The second disc makes a turn toward hip-hop, kicking off with Slum Village's subtle but brilliant remix of Innerzone Orchestra's cover of the Stylistics' "People Make the World Go Round." There, French chameleon Pepe Bradock ("Peer Pressure"), legendary DJ Pete Rock ("Walk on By"), underrated hip-hop queen Bahamadia ("One-4-Teen"), and Handsome Boy Modeling School ("The Truth") keep the beats rolling. Songs from Tito Puente, Incognito, Pharoah Sanders, Bel Air Project, and Blissom & Merkin not only conclude the second disc, but add a significant amount of diversity to this release.

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