Various Artists ‘Sounds Like Alola Vol I & II Mixed by Omid 16B and Demi’

Various Artists / ‘Sounds Like Alola Vol I & II Mixed by Omid 16B and Demi’


Alola / Released March 28th 2011

Those who aren’t deeply excited by this double release (technically two albums) should check the facts, and figures. Omid 16B’s Alola is a firm part of UK dance music history, having provided scores of club smashes, deep grooves and unexpected surprises. A back catalogue like this deserves re-appraisal, so label boss and the legendary Demi have done some careful handywork with highlights from the 17-year oeuvre.

With so much going into these mixes it’s difficult to know where to begin, other than track one, disc one. First it’s the man in charge’s turn, with the music warming up to the tune of Omid’s own The Boy That Never Sleeps, a filtered house workout that retains the hallmarks of this distinguished label despite being a fresh slice of the pie for 2011.

Summertime vibes no less, and this continues through the likes of Pete Moss, and Eli Nissan, before things begin to take on a distinctly more dancefloor directed sound. By the time you’re listening to SexOnSubstance’s Leads To Love it couldn’t be more contemporary, as we finish with a selection of six previously unreleased atmospheric rollers. Obviously then, this is as much a celebration of the imprint’s future as it is anything else.

In contrast, Demi’s Volume II pieces together the past, and little else, which is by no means a bad thing. Kicking off with the vocal classic (not to mention John Digweed fave) Blandford Superfly by House of 909, polished and professional are two words that come to mind, in terms of the mixing and production. From hereon in we’re taken back to 96 and trance-tinged breaks with 16B’s Secrets and Tranquillity Base from Remote Control, making everything go more than a little northern and exposed.

Then all of a sudden there’s a curveball. Now we’re off on a journey via roots influenced downbeat (The Novak Project’s Testament), oddball piano electronica (Dancing With Elephants, a new cut from Marco Da Mata & Matthew), and Arabesque plucked strings (Beneath The Sound by Vince Watson) before we return to more basic four four territories (the classic, raw and stripped 4pm In Frisco). What’s more, the way this works is an absolute joy to hear.

Before the disc is done you also get to hear 2 Cold (yet another 16B bass-driven breakbeat classic), which is perhaps the best tune on either instalment reviewed on this page. But with such variety and diversity on offer there are many things for many people, all of which are of the highest quality, serving to reinforce the elevated position of Alola’s sound in the electronic hierarchy. In short, whether looking for warm weather soundtracks, or serious, dark light stylings, both are present and correct, intelligently programmed and seamlessly compiled. As such we highly recommend.