Best Seven Selections 2

Various Artists

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Best Seven Selections 2 Review

by Rick Anderson

In accordance with time-honored reggae tradition, this disc is a compilation of singles rather than an album with any kind of unifying concept. However, since it's a compilation of singles from a single label -- and one that is guided by the musical vision of a single person -- there is a certain consistency of tone and feel to the program. The Best Seven label is run by Berlin-based DJ Daniel W. Best, and Best's guiding musical aesthetic seems to be based on another idea from Jamaica's old school: the fusion of reggae and soul music. The blending of American soul with Jamaican calypso and mento sounds is what gave rise to reggae in the first place, so it's only natural to take modern reggae sounds and fuse them with modern soul and R&B flavors and see what develops. What develops in this case is a variety of swinging, laid-back, Afro-Euro-Caribbean grooves that don't always raise your pulse rate very much but never fail to make you snap your fingers. The album's finest moments are some of its sweetest and most deceptively relaxed: Funset's saucily strutting "No Blame," Frost & Wagner's excellent "Like A O" (featuring a guest appearance by Berlin's favorite son Paul St. Hilaire), and the gently soulful "Soulmap" by Melasse. DJ Vadim (with Katherin Deboer) contributes perhaps the quietest and most perfect track of the album, the softly exquisite "Black Is the Night." Highly recommended.

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