V/A - Back In The Box: Little Louie Vega (NRK)
It is easy to forget that despite his love for an organic, Latin infused sound, ’Little’ Louie has been a champion of various forms of House music since the mid 80s. Therefore, Vega is in his element with ‘Back In The Box’, a double CD of cuts from the late 80s to mid 90s, which features smooth vocal winners and jazzified numbers alongside moody, clubbier tunes. We live in a time when many choose to align themselves with either softer ‘soulful’ music or tougher electronic sounds, but this compilation shows that the division is unnecessary. Elements of light and dark can be balanced easily and this makes for a much more interesting state of musical affairs. Highlights on the first disc include Mighty Dub Kats’s magical “It’s Just Another Groove” and Tee’s Mix of the Gypsymen’s addictive “Hear The Music”. CD 2 winners include Aphrohead’s sinister “In The Dark We Live” and Black Masses life-affirming “Wonderful Person”. A large number of House records have not aged particularly well over the years, so it’s a real pleasure to find that nearly all of the tracks on this compilation have stood the test of time. This set from Vega also reminds us that the genre can be really exciting when darker tunes are placed next to lighter efforts.