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Album Review: Fort Knox Recordings-The New Gold Standard 2

Written by Joe Lambert

I wish I were funky. Scratch that–I wish I were funk-ay. Sadly, the only beats I drop are ones at the grocery store, and the only hip shakin’ I pull off is when its 20 degrees outside.
The New Gold Standard 2–Fort Knox Recordings’ new compilation album featuring a bunch of artists you’ve probably never heard, but should quickly get yourself acquainted with–is this year’s number one reason to get off the couch and onto a dance floor, particularly one with myriad flashing lights. With a song titled “Make Ya Dance,” it’s clear what this label, and its artists, are aiming for: getting people to “open up and live.”

As a very popular character said in a once very popular television show called Futurama, “What’s goin’ on? That rhythm, it’s doin’ somethin’ to my human butt.” Listening to The Gold Standard is a lot like that sentiment, your human butt starts shaking, and the only cure is to dance.
The level of cohesion found within this compilation is truly astounding, though. Each artist inhabits a completely different style, but every song has a pinch of sound from the last, and segues beautifully into the next, requiring (not to this reviewer’s complaint) multiple listens.

It’s hard not to compare the artist’s, trying to figure which has the most impact, which makes you want to dance the most, which makes you think the most while you’re dancing. Aside from the sonic gold that is Fort Knox Five, International Velvet has the most potential out of all these acts. Listening to “Sitargazer” is like taking a trip back to The Chemical Brothers’ heyday, then adding a sitar to the mix, and a whole lot more savoir-faire. His other track on the album, “Sundown,” throws Beatles pop structures, that sweet sitar, some smooth R& B vocals, and a dance track into the mix producing one rockin’ pastiche of sound. Sure, the song borrows heavily from the Beck canon, but 15 years after Odelay, who doesn’t borrow from the Beck canon?

Really, there’s so much funk going down on every track that it’s impossible to capture it all. Speedy Consuela’s voice is like satin threaded into big band horns, with a Latin kick. And if the Latin flavor’s what your looking for, skip over to Empresarios for a genuinely thrilling blend of classic and contemporary. If your musical taste buds aren’t piqued by that point, skip straight to Liftoff’s seriously spacey track, “Marshmeadows.” Think Animal Collective meets The Album Leaf meets LCD Soundsystem meets Starman-era David Bowie–and yeah, it’s a good combination. Seriously, this label’s got the world music meanderings on lock-down.

I can tell I’ve started to sound a bit like an info-mercial promoting the latest comp album from Fort Knox, so I’ll just let the music speak for itself: Get up and dance, even if you don’t know how.

About Fort Knox Five

Sounding like a cosmic by product of George Clinton, Sly & The Family Stone, and Public Enemy, the Fort Knox Five are a live force to be reckoned with, and as in-demand remixers and producers, they’ve worked with artists ranging from Afrika Bambaataa to Bittersweet, Kraak & Smaak to Tito Puente and Bob Marley & the Wailers (sanctioned by the Marley estate, a rare honour). The Fort Knox Five are internationally renowned DJs and were selected by Gwen Stefani for her “Harajuku Lovers” tour with Black Eyed Peas. In the UK, their sets at London’s Fabric have seen them win punter approval, matching the media praise shown by the music press, The Guardian, Metro, and beyond.


01. Fort Knox Five – What Make Ya Dance ft. Rootz
02. Nappy Riddem – Rastar
03. Fort Knox Five – Shift ft. Afrika Bambaataa & Mustafa Akbar
04. Fort Knox Five – The Sax Pusher ft. Frank Mitchell
05. Empresarios – Sabor Tropical ft. Francisco Rosado & Felix Perez
06. Fort Knox Five – Bhangra Paanch ft. Beta G
07. See-I – How Could You (Rodney Hunter remix)
08. International Velvet – Sitargazer
09. See-I – Homegrown
10. International Velvet – Sundown ft. Mustafa Akbar
11. Speedy Consuela – On Our Way
12. Empresarios – Cumbia
13. Speedy Consuela – Number One Fan
14. Liftoff – Marshmeadows
15. Nappy Riddem – One World Sovereignty ft. Asheru


What Makes Ya Dance


Posted by Joe Lambert   @   17 November 2009
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