Label: Mobilee RecordsScore: 9/10
The mere fact that Mobilee’s “Back To Back” compilation series is into its 7th edition speaks volumes for the Berlin based record label. Now into its eighth year since its conception by Anja Schneider and Ralf Kollmann the label continues to go from strength to strength. Renown for their rooftop parties off Sonar, Mobilee’s innate aptitude to harness a typically “Mobilee” sound has been largely down to their ability to sign emerging artists to their roster who match their own passion and love for music. With the likes of Sebo K, Martin Landsky, Pan-Pot and more recently Rodriguez Jr gracing the Mobilee payroll. With an already accomplished live set due to evolve further in 2013, Rodriguez Jr. has proved a welcome addition to the Mobilee family and it’s no surprise that he’s been trusted with their annual offering.
“Back To Back Vol. 7” comprises two CDs, CD 1 being composed of the standout Mobilee offerings from the past twelve months and CD 2, a collaboration heavy artist album. The majority of the eleven tracks on the first disc have been essential accessories to many a record bag the world over over the past twelve months. CD 1 opens with Ray Okpara’s “Good Times” an uplifting opener with an undercurrent suggestive of something a little moodier. “Chi This Wonder Up”, one of the darker offerings from Okpara’s “Good Times” LP is also featured a little later amongst the likes of Sebo K, Pan-Pot and Anja Schneider.
Tracks three and four gently ease the listener into a dancier segment of the album with Rodriguez Jr’s own “Ocean Drive” providing an upbeat yet atmospheric platform from which to propel the central part of the compilation. Re.You of Germany’s Keinemusik fame next shows why he’s released on heavyweight labels such as Cocoon, Saved and Mobilee with “Junction”. A bouncy tech house track with oodles of groove offset by deep toms that sit neatly on top. Pan-Pot and David Labeij give the compilation a more aggressive tech house edge with relatively less emphasis on the lush melodies upon which the rest of the compilation is based. David Labeij’s “AEM” builds for the best part of five minutes before dropping with head-nodding tenacity. The remainder of CD 1 is a sobering finale of uplifting, closing tracks that culminates in Anja Schneider’s “Something That’s For Life” feat. Cari Golden. An inevitable end to the Mobilee compilation as no track released on Mobilee in the past year could possibly have been more fitting. Difficult to call it a standout track on the compilation as there are so many beautifully atmospheric tracks on this CD, though memories of Anja dancing to this mid-set at a Mobilee event certainly heighten its impact. Cari Golden’s sultry voice juxtaposed against staccato synths works beautifully to close the compilation.
To match the impact of a compilation of this magnitude that draws together Mobilee’s crème de la crème from the past year with an artist album is an unthinkable task. Rodriguez Jr. has however managed to surpass all expectations with CD 2. His previous releases speak volumes for his musical pedigree and therefore it’s not that surprising that CD 2 contains some really extraordinary music. CD 2 begins with “Roads” a dreamy laidback number based around piano chords and a softened trumpet melody that give it a nice organic feel. The next two tracks composed solely by Rodriguez Jr. are more in fitting with the label of peaktime house music, with a succession of stabs underlying “Hartwood”, punchy, dark tech house that typifies the Mobilee philosophy of music to dance to. Anja Schneider and Rodriguez Jr. come together on “Rancho Anthemo” a house blend of the former’s “Rancho Relaxo” and the drums of the latter’s “Muppet Anthem”. The track doesn’t quite arrive until the vocals from “Muppet Anthem” are introduced and then it truly announces itself as the real standout track when at two and a half minutes a beautiful, dreamy melody is transposed over the top of the track. The familiar basis of the two tracks layered with this lush uplifting melody is so easy to get lost in.
The quality of music on the second CD is really quite unbelievable and the further one gets the more of an eclipsing effect it has on CD 1. Collaborations with Safeword and Ray Okpara maintain your dreamlike state following “Rancho Anthemo” with their elevating wistful melodies. The CD has a slight injection of attitude for its remainder, though the Mobilee formula is never tampered with and the penultimate couple of tracks are punchier but still packed full of groove. The closing track on the CD exposes a different side altogether to Rodriguez Jr. as it takes on an altogether more experimental, dubby feel. Rodriguez Jr. again incorporating piano chords into this track. A quite elegant way to close as we come full circle.
This is an unquestionably good double CD. Selecting particularly noteworthy tracks is too great a feat in itself. Mobilee continue to persevere with producing music for the dancefloor and this release showcases their best from the past and the present. There is absolutely no doubt, after such a sustained presence at the top of the game that things are going to continue in this rich vein of form for some time for the revered imprint.