Various Artists

Taster: Sounds from the Funky Underground, Vol. 2

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Tucked deep in the wilds of Yorkshire, England, nestled between the edge of a national park and the southern tip of the Pennines mountain range, lies Huddersfield, home to the Chocolate Fireguard record label. Although only established in 2000, the imprint marked out an enviable roster of talent very quickly, aided by label manager Pat Fulgoni's work as an agent for live bands. The genre-trouncing Taster compilations offered a snapshot of the label at the time of their release, with this second album holding court to over 20 acts, the majority of which have already enjoyed considerable success on the European live circuit. With Fulgoni's own work with upbeat dance act Kava Kava, it is little surprise to find much of the music oriented around funk, with even the hip-hop of Cantaloop and the drum 'n'bass of Acetate underpinned by Bootsy-licious bass work and tumbling breakbeats. However, the label's core artists, comprised of oft-maudlin breakbeat soul Bluefoot Project, the aforementioned Kava Kava, and French seven-piece hip-hop outfit Ca, steal the show, with the latter's "Autonome" demonstrating much promise for a planned 2003 album on the same label.

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