Mark Farina

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Connect Review

by Jason Birchmeier

During the late '90s and early 2000s, you could divide Mark Farina's mix albums into to distinct categories: the all-over-the-place Mushroom Jazz albums and the relatively straightforward other albums. Connect certainly falls into the latter category, being not part of the popular Mushroom Jazz series and relatively straightforward in comparison. Thus, you get here much what you'd get if you saw Farina spin at a big club during the time Om released this mix in 2002 -- a linear house mix that's more funky than deep and definitely intended for dancing rather than chilling. However, since Farina had already released a few of these sort of mixes over the years -- predecessors including his United DJ's of America (2001), San Francisco Sessions (1999), and Seasons One (1996) mixes -- he feels compelled to get a bit more experimental than normal on Connect. Thus, he begins the album with some rather odd Latin-style tracks before finally getting down to business around track four or so. Farina again takes his mix into odd territory about ten tracks in, setting the stage for his own production and obvious album highlight, "Radio." The track is a bit anti-climactic given its buildup and certainly is unlike anything else on the album; however, Farina pulls the mix back together a few tracks later and concludes gloriously with Kaskade's "A Brighter Day," a wonderfully traditional-sounding vocal house track. Though the end of Connect is indeed glorious, there are quite a few spots where you feel quite disconnected as a listener, particularly the shaky beginning and when Farina's own "Radio" plays out for nearly eight minutes. These aforementioned moments make Connect one of Farina's less impressive mixes, even if it is one of his more confident non-Mushroom Jazz ones.

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