Review: Based in Berlin but inspired by the soul and spirit of Central America, the Cacao label brings a particularly colourful take to house and techno music. This flair is audible on the jazzy, freeform vibes and vocal drenched groove of "Endless Summer" by Tigerskin, and even the warbling, uptempo techno of And.id's "Jet Lag". Label founders K.E.E.N.E. manage to bring an offbeat sensibility and melancholic melodic undercurrent to the teased out "O Coast", while SOSANDLOW's "Agbara" resounds to organic drums and a bass that snakes and ebbs its way with sassy intent through the arrangement.
Review: The Connected label is a joint venture between Terranova and Stereo MCs and it celebrates three years in operation with this fine compilation, featuring new remixes of the label's catalogue. First up is a dreamy, offbeat take of Re.You's "They Vibed" by Olaf Stuut, with Reboot's version of Aaron's "Entropy" featuring Hazel and Carolina Melean following in a similar vein. Tim Engelhardt's dreamy, tranced out take on David Mayer's 'Drained" ups the tempo, while Moscoman's edit brings a deeply hypnotic dimension to David Mayer's percussive "Movement". The compilation is also notable for the fact that it features new material from Stereo MCs, with the breathy vocals and tranced out tones of "Light At" showing how far they have come from their original rap days.
Cacao Trio, K.E.E.N.E & Gonzo-Gonzo - "From La Ceiba To Leon" (Tigerskin remix) - (8:00) 123 BPM
Review: While some labels struggle to find their niche, Cacao Records has always thrived by offering something truly unique: contemporary club cuts that blend a contemporary European dancefloor pulse with the colourful musical traditions of Central America. If you've yet to sample the label's wares, this expansive "Best Of Cacao" compilation is an ideal place to start. Check, for example, the sticky tropical percussion, pulsing sub-bass and mangled female voices of Till Von Sein's remix of Gonzo-Gonzo's "Cologne", the Latin jazz-tinged deep house warmth of Rick Wade's "Latina", the angular, mind-altering rush of label co-owners K.E.E.N.E's "Gyal Good (Re.You Mix)" and the hypnotic, tactile throb of Dr Dru's shuffling, early morning house revision of Re.You's "Work It Now".