Various Artists

People Make the World Go Round 3: Foot Steps

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Here's the third label sampler from People, one of the most prominent labels in West London's prolific and somewhat outsider-unfriendly broken beat/nu-jazz community. (Are the producers able to keep tabs on all their aliases, splinter projects, and releases? Not bloody likely.) Work from scene leaders like Kaidi Tatham, Nathan Haines, IG Culture, and Phil Asher is sprinkled throughout these eight mostly lengthy cuts, but you wouldn't know that unless you took a hard look at the song credits. Once you pinpoint a producer you like (most of whom are multi-instrumentalists who pop up in various ways), it's a nightmare keeping track; that puts the casual listener at a disadvantage, but the catch-me-if-you-can nature of the myriad name changes and one-offs likely allows the producers to forget about the expectations that come with name recognition. It's a blessing and a curse -- plenty of great tracks come out of this approach, but most of them get buried in the pile of 12"s that come out with each passing week. That's why compilations such as this one are so very necessary. Likwid Biskit featuring Tatham (Agent K, Bugz in the Attic, Neon Phusion) and Culture (New Sector Movements, Da One Away) contribute "Substance," a gorgeous polyrhythmic track with cutting string riffs, swirling flute trills, and a typically vital vocal performance from Bembé Segué. Haines' "Close" (as Sci-Clone) slightly resembles the intro to Afronaught's scene-defining "Transcend Me," but it has its own excited rush to it, aided by Verna Francis' lively but histrionic-free voice. Restless Soul, Asher's project, abstains from using a tricky rhythmic backbone on "Beautiful," and in the process delivers one of his better deep house productions. Valerie Etienne's contribution proves once again that the scene is often about the undervalued vocalists as much as it's about the producers. The remainder of the disc is filled out by tracks that range from merely pleasant to nearly as quality as the ones mentioned above; those three tracks are worth it alone.

Track Listing

Title/Composer Performer Time
blue highlight denotes track pick