Artists include Dennis Cruz, Martin Buttrich, Piem, Harry Romero and Eli & Fur
A bit of a no-brainer for anyone interested in house and techno's slightly more leftfield fringes here, as Crosstown Rebels serve up their third annual Spirits compilation. The Spirits comps, it should be noted, aren't simple 'best of' sets, but instead come packed with new, exclusive tuneage from a pleasing blend of artists both familiar and less so – or as label boss Damian Lazarus puts it, "these are battle weapons, freshly unearthed anthems, deep experiments and awakenings".
Adonis Rivera's XX Acid gets the ball rolling in sprightly fashion, after which we're treated to cuts from the likes of Harry Romero, Dennis Cruz, Martin Buttrich and Eli & Fur. Highlights for this reviewer include Lazarus's own lively, throbbing Ergot, Denney & James Dexter's deep n' groovy Transcend, Nohan's dub-tinged Into The Light and Piem's Jodeci-via-MK cut-up Freak Out, while the least successful tracks for me are the handful sporting indie-style male vocals, but that's a personal thing… you might love 'em! Special mention should be made, too, of Cruz's Mother Earth, which sports a distinctive female vocal redolent of Arabic music or Portuguese fado.
Regardless of personal taste, only a fool could deny that Crosstown Rebels are one of the most successful and widely respected labels operating in the house sphere right now, and where they lead others often follow – making this a compilation house lovers of many persuasions would be well advised to check for.
Words: Russell Deeks
Release date: 24 January
Review Score: 8