I’m conscious that this is the third mix from the early noughties that I’ve reviewed. It’s not a period that’s often referred to in the annals of house music yet a unique sentiment must have enlivened those precious post-millennial years: a new, dizzy sense of optimism before the disillusionment of 9/11 set in.
Listen to a straight-up house set today (that doesn’t flirt with disco) and you’re likely to sense a dark, brooding tension there in the background in some shape or form. Whether it emanates from the smoky, lo-fi strains of Anthony Naples or the suspense of a Dixon set, there’s a nebulous sense of threat lurking at the edges.
No such description could be pinned on Nite:Life 06. On it, Ian Pooley, the German DJ with the English-sounding name, offers us a well-paced trip that’s aimed squarely at the dancefloor. A mix that’s contemporary in its scope, every track Pooley selects is from either ’00 or ’01 save for a Derrick Carter remix from ’98 so it does capture the essence of the period quite well. What marks this mix out for me is its giddy, anticipatory mood. Pooley arranges the album cleverly, allowing him to ride that ‘high’ feeling out to the very end.
The mix opens with ‘Eden’ – Ian O’Brien’s symphony of chimes serving as a tranquil prelude to the sweaty house music ahead. Some fine, disco pizzazz, courtesy of Metro Area saunters in next, establishing the warm, woozy vibe that is the signature of this release.
Next up, ‘The S Track’ contains a smooth bassline and velvety sax teeing up the delightful ‘Brother’ by Needs: a lush, stirring slice of deep house. A track that washes over you and sweeps you far away.
If the previous track was making you feel weak at the knees, then the next one just might floor you! It’s a remix from Vincenzo who produced two gems that feature on Miguel Migs’ ‘Nude Tempo One’ which I reviewed earlier this year. This one’s no less of a beaut – it packs a gorgeous, intimate, little synth that can’t help but endear itself to your ears.
Yann Fontaine’s ‘Open Your Eyes’ is another fine, reaching, spacey example of early noughties’ deep house that leads into ‘The Perfect Love Song,’ a track that borrows its exquisite groove from Teddy Pendergrass’ ‘Believe in Love.’ It’s followed by Doug’s ‘Begun 2 Love U,’ a fun, carefree track that keeps the spirits raised.
Mood ii Swing – invariably the hallmark of a quality selector – feature next with their rolling dub of ‘Call Me.’ The next three tracks are funky, filter house that provide plenty of fuel for the dancefloor fire. The aptly named ‘Disco Circus’ of Blaze’s ‘My Beat’ lands just in time to save us from being all filtered out, Derrick Carter responsible for this slightly screwball beat. Then arrives ‘Silvering.’ A cracking tune this – intoxicating and mellow at the same time.
This section of the mix keeps on giving with Ernest Saint Laurent’s show-stopper ‘Clumsy Lobster’ and it’s heady, seductive synths: peak time bliss.
Tom Middleton’s ‘Cosmos Deep Dub’ of one of Pooley own tracks allows the mix to simmer down for a while before it finishes with a flourish on a techno phase, first with Technasia’s excellent ‘Evergreen I.’
‘I’ve Fallen In Love’ offers a tribal, Latin tinge until Vincenzo appears again, this time by dent of his clever, synth-stabbing ‘Way Of Thinking.’ Pooley winds down with one of his own productions, ‘Scenic Route.’ It’s a beautiful little slice of Detroit inspired, downtempo techno: an inspiring end to an inspired mix.
Without a doubt, this is one of my favourite mix albums, Pooley throwing down funky, danceable grooves left, right and centre. A highly enjoyable experience. If you’re hankering for another dopamine top up after this, I’d also heartily recommend his ‘Excursions’ mix for another dose of warm, indulgent house.