Various Artists

Comfort Zone, Vol. 2

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Apparently the issue of Comfort Zone, a compilation of music designed for chilling in your own "comfort zone," was successful enough to warrant this second volume, and two after it. As chill-out jams go, these folks may not have the corner on comps of it, but they do have an edge for getting very fine tracks, as is evidenced by this set. Using the sun-drenched atmosphere of Club Med as inspiration, the producers rounded up some usual, and some foreign, suspects to create a woven tapestry that achieves its objectives. Opening the album is "Tsunami," by Sven Van Ness, with its vibes, strummed electric guitars, occasionally bluesy trumpet line, and a slimmed-down backbeat groove that allows for some weird narration about waves from Madonna, of all people. Tosca, the project by Richard Dorfmeister and Rupert Huber clock in with "Ocean Beat," replete with a rim shot backbeat, two note bassline shuffle, and a vocal groove that may be indecipherable, but fills the space well. There are jazz grooves all over this thing -- which is to be expected -- but one of the finer examples is the Clive Astin remix of Mikael Fitzpatrick's "Wish," featuring vocals by Kacy Tipton. She starts all breathy in a downbeat groove. basically breathing her lyrics through the rhythm, and then gradually moves the heat up a few notches to a relaxed, seductive delivery that drips a longing illustrated by the nearly painful utterance of "I want more." Other standouts include Homegrown's "Endangered Species," lifted directly from their album, Domino Park's "Danse Macabre," FXU's "Flytopia," and Marcel's "On The Beach" remix. The sequencing is true and seamless; everything flows, not drifts, into everything else, so it's difficult to tell where the record ends and begins. Like volume one, this one achieves its relaxation and head expansion objective in spades.

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