Various Artists

Mastercuts: Discothèque

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Another edition in the Mastercuts' series, Discotheque is a streamlined double-disc mix that relies heavily upon late-'70s and early-'80s disco cuts and tosses in more recent selections from disco's offspring, house. What Discotheque lacks in imaginative range -- as heard on the first volume of Mastercuts Bar Social -- is made up for with a tasty track selection and unobtrusive blends that are smooth and steady with regularity. And, as you've come to expect with Mastercuts' mix albums, the actual mix takes a back seat to the music; four to six minutes of each track are included, just enough for each to leave its mark before giving way to the next, in order to keep things moving. Loft and Paradise Garage classics that never go stale are in abundance, drizzled throughout. The clamping rhythm and unforgettable keyboard wriggles of Machine's politically charged "There but for the Grace of God" (thankfully receiving proper due in the CD age, as it has appeared on a number of other comps) dissolves gracefully into Musique's "Keep on Jumpin'," a timeless track that provides the blissful apex of the first disc, which closes out with a trio of '90s and '00s house tracks from DJ Sneak, Tomy or Zox, and Kluster. The second disc winds through another baker's dozen, and is formatted similarly with a selection that can appeal to those who thrive on underground classics as much as those who are just getting their feet wet and only recognize the bigger names, like Donna Summer and Diana Ross. (It's probably no coincidence that those divas open each disc, because "I Feel Love" and "The Boss" are capable of gaining the recognition and attention of any prospective dancer within earshot.) From track to track, the line that runs from an originator like Sylvester and right on through modern innovators Blaze is traced. More importantly, that line also provides well over two hours of hip-pleasing goodness.

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