Various Artists – ‘Nothing Else Matters When We’re Dancing’ (CockTail d’Amore)

Discodromo and Boris started CockTail d’Amore five years ago as a gay monthly in Berlin. It became a record label two years later and has since grown in reputation and evolved to cater for ‘a diverse range of open minded freaks, queers and more seeking a carefree atmosphere’. The strong emphasis on visual appeal elevates the CockTail experience into something heady, sleazy and totally unique; this compilation channels the same mentality into a rounded body of ambitious club music.

The opening track, Lord Of The Isles’ beatless, synth-jam ‘Wilderness Three’, sets the tone with musicality and emotive composition. It is followed by an eight-minute, House cut by Genius of Time producer Dorisburg  which, on just one side of vinyl, nods to the CockTail policy that starkly disparate sounds work together. The drums in Dorisburg’s ‘Under Vatten’ are gently-swung and brittle, the arrangement is restrained. It serves as a neat introduction to the type of dancefloor sounds to come.

Lesser-known artists Chymera and J.E.E.P both deliver slick, hands-in-the-air House with sunrise chord progressions, plucky basslines and a Balearic feel. The 808-heavy sounds of Luv Jam’s ‘Flyypost 971′ take things down a slightly darker route, suitably coupled with MASCARAS’ equally sinister ‘Jukai’. The latter chugs along at grinding pace and centres around delayed, metallic reverb with a scratchy high-end. Unfortunately, it does so without the finesse displayed elsewhere.

Discodromo’s own contribution comes in the form of a collaboration with countryman Massimiliano Pagliara. It signals the return to a more uplifting style, using classic drumroll patterns, mini-breakdowns and Italo-tinged melody. Heatsick’s track is by far the most out-there. Entitled ‘#dionysos’, it snowballs for four minutes, adding a range of otherworldly sounds as it goes. The tightly-coiled bassline then releases and the track ends as a bouncier and vaguely recognisable version of itself. To a crowd less open-minded than CockTail d’Amore’s, ‘#dionyos’ might clear a dancefloor. But, in this context, it is perhaps the compilation’s stand-out moment.

Forever Sound and Bon Voyage both opt for trippy, synth excursions that bury the drums amongst layers of morphing mid-range colour. Bon Voyage’s ‘Presque L’Amazonie’ is particularly stirring, its retro and eerie feel suiting the indulgent, after-hours vibe to a tee. Last but not least are Young Marco and Willie Burns (who here uses his Black Deer guise). Young Marco’s ‘Young Navajo’ is driven along by deep kicks and a low-pitched tom, and held together by ethereal, swirling pads. On the compilation’s closing track, Black Deer shows a keen ear for pop sensibilities. He brings the record full-circle with a soft, dulcet number that politely suggests it’s time-to-go-home. With a limited edition delivered on bright orange, pink and yellow 12″s and suitably lewd artwork, ‘Nothing Else Matters When We’re Dancing’ lives up to the carefree expectation with great style and just enough focus.

‘Nothing Matters When We’re Dancing’ is available from December 18th. Pre-order it here.

Richard Akingbehin

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