BBQ Beets II, Return of the Yams
Record label: theAgriculture
Format: CD
Release dates: 1 April 2004 (BBQ Beets II)
1 May 2004 (Lunchbox)

The first installment of BBQ Beets provided an illbient soundtrack to Brooklyn rooftops and after hours happenings courtesy of DJ Olive. This time around the Audio Janitor teams up with James Healy for Part II. Together they serve up slices of rhythm and sound to not only chill out to, but to get down to. If you’re never heard this label’s output before, or if you’ve missed out on the last couple of releases, Return of the Yams will bring you up to speed on what theAgriculture’s been up to lately. Some might be surprised that the rump shaking factor of this comp is off the Richter, largely due to the demented dancehall of David Last, Lady Man a.k.a. Badawi, and Nettle (featuring dj /rupture). Strong offerings from DJ Wally and QPE are also included, as well as a pair of danceable gems from Olive’s insanely infectious Bodega LP.

As great as all of these tracks are, the two selections from Lunchbox shine above the rest. Their full-length album offers more of the same, leading us into a world of global groove that’s almost impossible to describe. Lunchbox features DJ Olive alongside Martin Baumgartner & Bruno Amstad (both from Switzerland). The results are extraordinary, as evidenced by the album’s opener. Head nodding beats push and pull against slightly solemn piano chords and foreign voices that sound otherworldly. There’s a heavy jazz influence on this album that makes for great interaction with the ever-present dub characteristics of the label’s discography. This could arguably be one of the strongest releases from theAgriculture to date. For a well-rounded meal, try these audio delicacies: “Brown Bag,” “Jellyfish Roll,” “Peanut Butter & Jelly,” “Swordfish,” and “Vegimite Toast.”

{steve crognale}

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