Various Artists

No Categories, Vol. 5: Electronic Music for Eclectic Minds

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As the 100th issuance from the fashionably eclectic Ubiquity label, No Categories, Vol. 5 is a suitably celebratory record -- almost all of the cuts offered here are furtively upbeat affairs, relying on the favored strains of Latin breakbeats, house thumps, jazz flourishes, and electro twiddlings for momentum and sustenance. When the formula works, it's because someone has augmented those ingredients with honest-to-goodness craftsmanship; P'taah's joyous opener "Hold You Close," Zero dB's devastatingly effective remix of Interfearence's "Xtradition," and Johnny Frigo's too-short "Gazebo" all resonate strongly. Unfortunately, there are too many instances when those elements fail to coalesce into anything more than a meandering patchwork of too-long drum loops and dull (albeit fashion-conscious) instrumentation. As a result, No Categories, Vol. 5 comes off somewhat antithetical to the creative, bustling music it frequently mines for inspiration. It also proves quite conclusively that mix-by-numbers genre cross-pollination is no substitute for simple human ingenuity.

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