Mundial Muzique v2
Record label: Guidance Recordings
Format: CD
Release date: 25 June 2002

Every music lover has that elusive label, the imprint you let slip through your fingers for at least a few years until you catch up to it and confirm your suspicions that you've been missing out on something special. I recently had that experience with Guidance Recordings, a small Chicago-based label. I had heard the name for years, associated it with soul-stirring house and the occasional downtempo/lounge groove. They've been slinging vinyl singles for much longer than a minute, but I finally caught up with the label recently. Or rather, Guidance caught up with me - the Mundial Muzique v2 compilation was tossed my way at a party. A glance at the track listing and I know that I was in for some serious sounds.

The CD is described as "a selection of modern Afro-Caribbean, Latin and Brazilian rhythms." An apt description, but one that doesn't clue you in on how much it will prompt you to move your feet. Nuspirit Helsinki's "Makoomba" kicks off the whole affair with a funky Afro-beat shuffle, accented beautifully by flute and saxophone. This is followed up by the always on-point Allenko Brotherhood Ensemble: "Leroy" features the steady hands of drummer Tony Allen going toe-to-toe with Tweak, building around Allen's rhythm with Fender Rhodes piano and a poppin' bass line. There's not one snoozer in the bunch - every cut deserves your attention, whether it's Faze Action remixing Femi Kuti, Restless Soul revisiting Meitz, or the present-day Brazilian dance of Easydelics. Guaranteed show-stoppers include Dirk Swartenbroek's brilliant Buscemi remix of Suba's "Felidade" (where house and bossa nova collide with lively Latin percussion) and "Going Out" from Guidance's own Antenna. Along with Samba Olympo and Nuspirit Helsinki, Guidance proves that their artists can hold their own alongside material from labels like Yellow Productions and Comet Records. By the time we wind down with Louise Vertigo and Tom Y Joyce, you'll be wearing a smile as wide as the ones of the children that grace the CD cover. While summer was the perfect time for its release, this compilation features timeless music for every season. Doesn't matter if you're in the mood to dance or to chill out, Mundial Muzique v2 will set you straight.

{downtempo don}

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