Various Artists - Ministry of Sound Clubbers Guide to 2006, Mixed by Axwell & Goodwill
Wed 15th Feb, 2006 Music Reviewsin
(Ministry of Sound/EMI)
Often regarded as the Maccas of dance music, with generic and grossly overplayed radio tunes, this latest Ministry of Sound Clubbers Guide to 2006 double disk is a refreshing surprise. Upon receiving my review copy, I quickly remembered that I had purchased and sold the last edition on the same day! However, I feel the Ministry crew has realised the format needs a refresh. Yep, the big broomstick has gone through and here we have a chunkier, funkier, quality listen.
Disk 1, mixed by Goodwill, has a solid almost electro groove going right from the start. Electro sure is the ‘now’ sound. Meaning no disrespect to one of my fav DJs Sander Kienenberg, I almost think the Ministry disk 1 achieves what Sander tried (and in my opinion, failed) to deliver with his recent Everybody on Tour CD. An outrageous claim? Maybe. But it certainly flows a lot better and does contain a lot of quality tunes by respected artists. Songs that really grab me include: a remix by disco beat gurus Putsch 79, Dirty Harry by the Gorillaz, Push Your Body by German dude Sharam Jey, and a remix of Mylo’s classic Muscle Cars by Tiga. I can hear a deep sigh. You all roll your eyes indicating these are all mainstream and predictable? True, however these versions are much edgier than radio fodder. There’s plenty of chunk.
There is a little bit of a drop off in quality after the first half of Goodwill’s disk, with the sound getting a bit lighter and fluffier. It’s the point in the CD where my chic will start to tap her toes as my itchy finger wiggles towards to skip button. It does improve somewhat, with the disk concluding with Tiga’s You Gonna Want Me from his hotly anticipated artist album, Sexor. Disk 1 is actually very well paced, and is rounded out with the mellow electro’y Body Language by uber cool combo M.A.N.D.Y. and Booka Shade from German label Get Physical. See, this release really has got some credibility! I can see myself listening to it for quite a while.
Disk 2 is handled by Axwell and has a distinctive Swedish sound. If I could compare it, I’d say it straddles the progressive and house genres, in a similar way to Steve Porter or probably even closer to Luke Fair. It doesn’t have the plodding of traditional prog, but is generally a lot faster that a standard 4×4 house beat. The big difference between Porter or Fair and Axwell is that Axwell has a LOT of more vocals, mainly female. I find it very cheesy. They bug me… Disk 2 is very samey throughout, failing to take the listener on the wonderful journey that can be dance music. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not radio fodder with inclusions from respected artists such as Royksopp, Bob Sinclair and the ‘05 classic Aftermath by Pryda. These selections again demonstrate a preparedness to break from the Ministry mould.
So chinstrokers, put aside your prejudices, Disk 1 is worth a look.