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Various – Future Times Vibe 2 review

This double vinyl DJ pack from Future Times is most obviously a follow up to last summer’s Vibe 12”, which featured artists from the label indulging in the sort of off kilter, unique dance music that has seen them gather many a fan. Emboldened by this, Vibe 2 sees Future Times expand their remit and can be viewed as the Transatlantic accompaniment to Permanent Vacation’s recently released Zwei edition of their If This Is House series. Much like the tracks included there, Vibe 2 perfectly captures the mood and sound of the underground house network, though the emphasis is mostly on American artists as opposed to the mainland European focus of the German label’s compilation.

The close bond between Future Times and New York’s Long Island Electrical Systems was recently touched upon elsewhere on this site, with the latter’s Ron Morelli revealing the Washington DC imprint had been instrumental in encouraging him to establish what has become one of our favourite labels. The debt of honour is paid back several times over with no less than four of the nine tracks presented here provided by L.I.E.S. alumni.

It’s a joint endeavour between the two labels which opens this release, as Maximillion Dunbar goes to work on “Comeback Dust”, Morelli’s one release as L.I.E.S., which originally appeared earlier this year on the equally impressive Greek imprint Echovolt. Whereas the original used all manner of cosmic melodies to induce hypnosis, Dunbar’s “Big Top Dustheads” remix is much shorter and relies on more prominent usage of the desperate sounding vocal hook amidst stripped down drum rhythms before the kaleidoscopic tones arrive.

From here, Tom Noble’s “Malaco” bridges the gap between the forgotten boogie sounds that invariably surface on Peoples Potential Unlimited and the club tackle that emerged in the days that Ron Hardy ruled the Musiq Box, sounding like it was recorded on reel to reel tape several times over before Noble submitted it to Future Times. L.I.E.S stalwart Jason Letkiewicz makes the first of two appearances here; firstly as Confused House, with the appropriately titled “Concrete (Dub)”, which combines foundation-shuddering drums with jaggedly spraying electro synths. Within these three opening tracks there’s a charming range of tempos explored which continues throughout.

Alexis Le Tan, most commonly known for digging up the strangest of cosmic kraut curios for Permanent Vacation’s Space Oddities series, throws down some deliciously camp hi nrg on “Marathon Man”, whose rugged, breathy throb is in marked contrast to “Uncollected Groove” the sprawling, Utopian electro glisten of Letkiewicz’s second contribution – this time as Steve Summers. Further energetic workout contributions from Amsterdam dwelling Israeli duo Juju & Jordash and Hunee sit either side of Steve Moore’s “Volatile Memory” – a deeply atmospheric production that adds more credence to the thought he would be perfect to re-score Bladerunner.

It’s fitting that Swimmers & Gang, essentially the Future Times all-stars, should join forces to end proceedings with “Sexy”, a heavily diced exercise in disco grit which, along with the opening track, are perhaps the most straight forward contributions to a release that happily twists and turns through all manner of carefree experimentalism without any compromise on quality.

Tony Poland