Ministry of Sound - Germany's Neue Heimat series has for the past four years been a spotlight on the Fatherland's contribution to electronic music and also a springboard for new artist innovations occurring there. The sound found on these compilations are generally pure examples of great music and not a label promotion pushing a company president's completely untalented nephew. And on this 5th addition, the standard of tracks present are indeed above the fray.
The double CD set is more of a continuous slam than a continuous mix (not beatmatched, but without pause between tracks) and is stylistically all over the map, which at least on the first disc flows together nearly perfectly without notice of gear changes. That said, CD1 is by far the strongest, mixing mostly jogging ambience with a few reverent vocal tracks, and eventually some harder driving techy pieces. Some of the stronger cuts are Arp Auber & Jan Gazarra's "Actress," which has that progressive house feel that dominated Sasha and John Digweed's mixes a few years ago, and Isolee's "My Hi-Matic", that is really just sweet melancholy techno. One of the biggest treats is Tiefschwarz's "Damage," featuring Everything But The Girl's Tracy Thorn, whose voice always has the familiar comforting qualities of that prerecorded telephone operator. There's a few aggressive funky electro tracks towards the latter part of the first disc that are noteworthy, epitomized by the Molby remix of Photonensurfer self-titled track and Zen-Kei's "The Blast."
Now if you thought the first disk was down tempo at times, the second one starts out that way, but more in a lazy weed-smoking kind of way. And even when some energy starts bursting, overall it's definitely the weaker of the two sides. There's still great cuts to be found- it's just that most of them meander a little more, and some just have no point of arrival. Boozoo Bajou is here with some soul ragga, Slackwax provide some Tom Waits-ish funk, and DJ Rogall & RQM kick out something between broken beat and garage. The most notable tracks are Wrong Kong's electrodisco "Real Boy," Wayne Martin (whom is known for his many collaborations with the aforementioned Boozoo Bajou) lending his lyrics and blues voice to Dublex Inc.'s funky "She'll Stay," and then the kick-ass punk house ride of Strike Boys' "Paralyzed Part 1 & 2." All of these mentioned tend to make a guy look up in surprise because of the seemingly more calculated melodies, in contrast to the others' "just a lot of notes" approach.
In the end, this is a great investment for those looking for fresh sounds and prefer something comparable (though not as tight as) this year's Buzzin' Fly 3 mix.