Thursday, July 23, 2009

Crimes against chinstroking

My review of the very fun new Beatfanatic CD.

Beatfanatic — Vinyl Junkie Culture

Sometimes a guilty pleasure overtakes you, when you know something just isn’t that groundbreaking, meaningful or deep but you can’t help loving it. And that’s what the latest excursion by Swedish producer Beatfanatic is like: pitch-perfect euphoric nu-disco mining a largely obscure yet warmly familiar bunch of samples and themes.

Not that the man is anything less than a slick and proficient craftsman, but surely something this much fun must be bad for you.

In both this guise and a myriad of others (he’s also Beatconductor, Discoconductor and Jazzconductor—spot a pattern here?) Ture Sjöberg has produced an accomplished range of re-edits, remixes and recreations over the last half-decade, on labels like Raw Fusion, Soundscape, Spicy and G.A.M.M. And his output has certainly been varied—not scared to churn out traditional soul and funk sounds, broken beats or even slamming house rhythms.

But on this latest compilation it’s all smooth-as Balearic hedonics and he pulls it off deliciously. The CD quickly moves from the bleepy, low-slung "Automatic" to the soaring cheesiness of "Fly Away", before settling through the sweet vocal loops of mid-tempo groover "In This Life". Then it’s the funkified, hip-grinding delights of "A Soulful Mode" and the moody, John Carpenteresque cinematic chill of "In Heaven".

"Sharpskin Boogiestomp" pilfers Vangelis’ legendary "Let It Happen" (a track already brilliantly reworked by Beatfanatic a few years ago) while "Guide" is all nu-soul goodness. "Prince Of Darkness" wouldn’t be out of place in an Idjut Boys set with its combination of blaring brass section and dramatic, cosmic synths. On the other hand, "Berlin Calling" is deep, dubby, melodic tech-house and "Bombay Billie" tips its hat to the late, great Mr Jackson before veering off somewhere altogether different. Only CD closer "Nautonnier" strikes a bland note—a jazzy deep houser that runs too close its early-noughties formula.

If you’ve come to taste the latest masterwork by the likes of Lindstrom, maybe Vinyl Junkie Culture will come off a bit obvious and lacking in chinstroke potential. But an utter pleasure it still manages to be.

Guilty as charged.

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