Various Artists

Inhouse, Vol. 2: Modern House Sounds From Deepest Germany

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Throughout most of the 1990s, you thought of techno when you thought of German electronic dance music. This is partly because labels like Force Inc, Tresor, Chain Reaction, and Kompakt, among many others, released a wealth of amazing techno throughout the decade. In fact, these labels became as well known, if not better known, than the artists they were showcasing. A decade later, an array of German house labels hope to follow the brand-name success of their techno predecessors, showcasing some of their best releases on EFA's series of excellent Inhouse samplers. This series of unmixed various-artists collections, inaugurated in 2001, compiles releases by some of Germany's most noteworthy house labels (or at least among those distributed by EFA, the premier carrier of German dance music circa the early 2000s). The samplers generally offer one track per label and represent the many styles of house music -- from the organic instrumentation of Stir15, to the jigsaw funk of Playhouse, to the heartfelt deepness of Freude am Tanzen, and everything in between. Volume two favors the deep side of house, favoring real instruments and jazz-funk rather than laptop handiwork and tech-house. As such, this volume compiles mostly labels in line with Stir15 and Compost, and begins gently with "Everyday" by Glance featuring Marlene Johnson, an elegant vocal track that never really takes off, instead wavering almost drowsily in a wonderful state of hazy comfort. From there, the tracks maintain this deepness and culminate with Gamat 3000's "Into This Lonely Crowd," yet another vocal track among many, this one absolutely filled with heavenly melodies. The heavenliness soon subsides, though, for the final four tracks, which embrace a more digital style and conclude the album with an exciting sense of variety that's somewhat missing throughout the early going.

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