Lo Fidelity Allstars
I used to be an absolute whore for mix discs. I think this was partially due to the fact that a majority of the music that I listened to in the past was music that would fit into a mix disc setting (whereas a majority of the stuff I listen to now would not), and it was also one of the best ways for me to find out about different artists I might not hear in the first place. I could just buy a mix disc (the first two DJ Keoki mix discs on Moonshine still hold a place in my heart), and discover all kinds of new things, as well as get something that was usually designed to make my ass shake.
In the years since my infatuation with the mix disc, I find myself listening to them less and less on a weekly basis (although I have to admit that when I'm looking for exercise music, they still pop up near the top of the list), and that's mainly because my interests for casual listening have changed so much. It's hard for me to sit down and listen to something with a sustained BPM over 120, and Happy Hardcore has become something akin to eating cheesecake (happens only about once a year). Fortunately, this mix disc from the Lo Fidelity Allstars is eclectic as all-hell. It covers the spectrum from hip hop to big beat to electro and even a touch of rap. It's fun and never lingers on one thing too long, and surprisingly it might not appeal to fans of the group simply because of the scattershod stylings.
In fact, you might be wondering what the hell's going on upon hearing the first track. After a brief silly intro by the group themselves, the disc lopes off into the rather mainstream track "No Diggity" by Blackstreet (and featuring Dr. Dre). Opening things on such a Top 40 song might be a bullet through the foot, but things get even more shaken up as soon as the last few notes play. Following quick on the heels is the middle-eastern infused big-beat track "Stand Clear" by Indian Ropeman before things go back in time (to the 80's) for the next two. Trouble Funk shows some Sugarhill style on "Pump Me Up" before KRS-One and Boogie Down Productions drop the absolutely awesome "You Must Learn" (which feels almost cerebral next to all the mindless dance tracks).
Although the majority of the mix is comprised of louder tracks from the late 1990's (including a couple releases from the Skint label and the ultra-cheeseball "(Hey You) What That Sound?" by Les Rythmes Digitales), it's the inclusion of older tracks that make the disc worthwhile. In addition to the cuts mentioned above, the group drops "Black Is Black" by Jungle Brothers, the whistle-blowing rave-up of "Stakker Humanoid" by Humanoid, and even drop clear back to 1968 with the inclusion of some soul with "I Can Feel Your Love" by Felice Taylor.
Even though Prodigy themselves would probably rather have you forget it (given their new ruff-and-tuff attitudes), the Lo Fi boys tag on yet another early techno anthem in the form of "Out Of Space." Coming from the 1992 album Experience, the sped-up vocals and ragga samples are about as far from "Firestarter" as you can get, but actual work quite well to help close out the end of the disc. With several years having passed now since the release of their debut album How To Operate With A Blown Mind, hopefully the group is taking some notes from tracks on this disc in coming up with something new.