13 October 2010

Radio Ponsonby Record Review: Coming Home - Boozoo Bajou

Boozoo Bajou
[Stereo Deluxe]

"Chillout" pretty much became a dirty word in compilation CDs for me early in the '00s, after a steady flow of Cafe del Buddha Bar collections dumbed the genre down to elevator muzak.

Thankfully there were still a few plump, peachy downtempo delights ripe for the picking, if the listener cared to reach a little higher - step up the likes of Austrian duo Kruder & Dorfmeister, UK-born Spanish-resident George Evelyn aka Nightmares On Wax & the German production duo known as Boozoo Bajou.

Much like the aforementioned elusive Austrians across the border, Nurembergers Florian Syberth & Peter Heider, aka Boozoo Bajou, have hardly been prolific, with three artist albums in the past10yrs - Satta (2001), Dust My Broom (2005) & Grains (2009), yet theirs is a signature sound instantly recognisable by it's smooth, buttery instrumentation & deep, dubby tempos.

Joe Dukie from the uber-languid Fat Freddy' Drop sings what is probably Boozoo Bajou's best-known song here in NZ - and it's called Take It Slow. Furter proof required...?

Their acclaimed Juke Joint compilations have only enhanced their reputation as dons of downbeat, with immaculately eclectic programming a notable feature. This is something sadly lacking in many compilations nowadays, regardless of genre, so it's a great pleasure to wrap my listening gear around the new Coming Home compilation CD, selected & mixed by BoozBaj themselves.

As the opening minutes of Linkwood Family's gorgeous Miles Away (nicely ref. Mr Davis) slid from my stereo speakers, that familiar lush, laidback BoozBaj vibe washed over me - but then the hi hats start, the keys kick in, the beat drops & it becomes clear that here at least, Boozoo Bajou are dancing to the beat of a different drummer. They've lifted the tempo, considerably in places, while retaining those deep space echoes & distinctly dubby details, and as such, the compilation seems as suitably styled for late night dancefoor shuffling as it is for lounging sipping cocktails.

There are three excellent Boozoo Bajou tracks here - including the dancehall smash Killer, featuring the legendary Top Cat on vocals - alongside a compelling lineup featuring Soulphiction, Henrik Schwarz, Motor City Drum Ensemble & Move D, among others.

These ears particularly enjoy the Elvis P-meets-Farda P vocals laid down by Ski over an insistent shuffle & big ol' bendy bassline courtesy of Tontelas. Icasoul also makes an appearance with the semi-instrumental banger Givin' It Up. (I mention this mostly as the version of this track with the full vocal from Capitol A is a stone cold killer well worth the search, trust me.)

Standouts aside, it's the measured way Boozoo Bajou have woven these tracks into a stunning tailormade musical fabric that makes this particular "chillout" compilation stand out on the hanger.

In A Nutshell: Boozoo Bajou do uptempo dancefloor shuffling mix & it's as good as their slow stuff!
Nyntee's Rating: EIGHT smudged mirrors out of TEN

Check out the Radio Ponsonby Record Review with 90, on Murry Sweetpants' Breakfast Show every Wednesday around 8.30am, on 107.7FM. Big thanks to the Longroom!

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