As One

So Far (So Good)

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There are reasons to be skeptical of Kirk Degiorgio. In interviews, he often comes off as a jazz snob with strictly defined parameters of what constitutes proper music. In self-penned liner notes, listeners have been notified of the historical nature of his productions, and have also been instructed to "savour their importance." Important -- OK, whatever, but are they any good? Are they enjoyable to listen to? Do they have the ability to move you? Are they the least bit innovative? The answer to all of these questions is yes. Across two discs, So Far (So Good), an anthology documenting Degiorgio's work as As One, provides an argument for these answers as strong as any other. It appeals to disciples and newcomers alike with previously released material -- most of which is strong -- included within a set of selections that glean from each As One album, with the unfortunate exception of Planetary Folklore. Degiorgio has left plenty of goods behind during the years documented here, all of which help solidify the producer as one of techno's most crucial and vital. There's enough room for most of his facets to be highlighted, from equally forceful and nimble breakbeat workouts ("The Electric Hymn," "If It Ain't Broke") to stomping house-oriented tracks ("Epic," "We No Longer Understand") to romantically crushing ambient techno ("Amalia," "Reunion"). Although many of the familiar have no doubt pored over the track listing and have scoffed at omissions and inclusions, the most glaring mistake this compilation makes is that it doesn't acknowledge his limited but exceptional work with vocalists; surely "Problems" or "I'll Be Lovin' You" would've been more at home here than the 2-step misstep "Contours." Like many of his heroes, Degiorgio seems to have his sights set on longevity. Given the fact that his last two albums have also been his best, here's hoping that a successor to this compilation will someday happen.

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