John Acquaviva’s latest mix is inextricably connected to Detroit. Recorded at Motor at noon on New Year’s Day — just hours after playing to a champagne-buzzed New Year’s Eve audience there — our favorite Lionel Richie-playin’ Canadian fearlessly crafted his newest mix in the company of a select few fellow insomniacs. To us mortals, this all sounds a bit ridiculous, but for this veteran electronic DJ (Warning: if you call him old now, you might be attacked by recycled newspaper or flying pixels), four-hour sets won’t suffice to share his collection of some 40,000 records.
Connected is truly in the vein of the “mixed compilation,” a vibe-building, smoothly mixed collection where the tracks themselves do the talking. With all the time that kids these days spend on scratch tricks, unnecessary knob-twiddling and behind-the-back-with-the-elbow fader pushing (you’re not Claude Young, junior), it’s nice to hear some classy placement of choice vinyl as a tasteful antidote.
Pounding bass and filtered conga rhythms abound as Acquaviva opens the mix, slowly building into the carnival atmosphere of “The Sound of: Oh Yeah.” Congas maintain, however, and reach their apex in “Let’s All Chant,” which finds African tribesmen lending some soulful authenticity to the term “tribal house.” “Radiant” is (gulp) trancey, but with such a unique ambient sensibility that its organic, percussion-driven synth melody is nothing short of brilliant. Snapping us out of introspection, JA attaches jumper cables to our nipples with “Force” — a catchy as hell vocal tech-house stomper with merciless bassy synth stabs that grab your brain like a narcotic. Although he drops a dud of a disco diva track on “Got Me Workin’,” it’s all good as Acquaviva saves the damaged vibe at the buzzer with “The Music,” a melodic gem from his Definitive imprint. With minor disagreements, Connected almost always connects.
E-mail Robert Gorell at firstname.lastname@example.org.