Mateo & Matos

Inspirations

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In theory, deep soulful house exists to give aural as well as spiritual satisfaction; in practice, it often just puts people to sleep. Albums of deep soulful house that are musically strong enough to keep the hook in are, in fact, almost as rare as rocking horse manure. But this, an expertly mixed compilation set by Mateo & Matos, is one of those rare albums. Aptly titled Inspirations, it carries unashamedly positive house tunes by a wide range of American and European underground artists. The take-off is suitably laid-back: Dennis Ferrer's "Unconditional Love," for instance, is a exceedingly smooth affair of solid soul vocals and a trumpet solo on a carpet of lazy grooves. "Got to Be Free" by Zoo Experience and "What a Surprise" by Cooly's Hotbox are both similar, though pump just that little bit harder. Carrying a breezy blues guitar solo, "Dreams," by Soul Creation, sounds like something from the repertoire of French producer St. Germain. As the tempo quickens and the funk kicks in, the set turns into quite the uplifting party mix; Carol Leeming's "Falling" and "Move on Up" by Josma -- both bouncy vocal numbers -- and the cheerful "Voices in Los Angeles" by Whiteside vs. Christopher are sure to fill dancefloors. The last track on the album, "Jask's Theme" by the Thaisoul Orchestra, is arguably the slickest, most infectious offering of the lot -- boasting a thumping four-four, crisp strings, and a catchy sax solo. After a finish like that, you'll be scurrying downtown for more of the same in the clubs.

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