If Lashed represents the bolshy sister in the latest Ministry line up of CD’s then the latest in the Hed Kandi collection is surely the sharply dressed cool if somewhat commercial brother of the family. This is the kind of mix CD that is capable of polarising opinion. Unquestionably existing with one foot in the mainstream and one foot on the dancefloor.
Hed Kandi is a three CD collection of the less aggressive funkier blend of house that is in no short supply on today’s dance floors. There’s an unforgivably trendy aura about these collections, maybe it’s the accompanying artwork that adorns them with its super hip fantasy women on every sleeve. Maybe it makes the average Joe think I’m not cool enough to dance to this (or maybe that’s just me).
Under the hood though it’s a pleasing enough experience though, three CD’s broken into three parts of the night. The peak, the late night and the end. Fairly accurate for those who are wanting to replicate that night out in the comfort of their own living room.
The “Peak” CD kicks off in suitable enough fashion blending a loose limbed collection of funky house tracks. A commercial full frontal for the listener, in fact its so sugary it could make your teeth itch and fillings blaze. But that is quite easy to get past, the offerings are light affairs laden with a smooth blend of strings, warm bass and in places big chunky layers of piano. Innocuous enough tracks that you might find in edited forms on any number of radio stations. It’s almost like a guilty pleasures “listening by numbers” exercise. The names are all here Armand Van Helden, Bob Sinclar and Supermode. With its disco sentiments being worn on its sleeve there’s even a reworking of Love Sensation (Loletta Holloway) brought out for another round on the floor.
The second disc brings you on a little in the night. A “late night filthy electro mix”. Well, I think the use of the word “filthy” is a bit strong, perhaps needing a flannel around the face would be a little more fitting. This mix never gets anywhere near as dark as it would have you believe. Once again the commercial aspect is high balled for the listener and in the opening stages and you get the “soon to be overplayed” Walking Away by The Egg as the mix’s opening shot. Oakenfold turns up early doors as well with his recent Brittany Murphy collaboration but its after this point that things start to become a touch wobbly in this particular set.
Tocadisco’s reworking of Mylo’s ‘In My Arms’ is a brief salvation but in real terms its making a woefully late showing. Switch’s “A Bit Patchy” is fairly welcome but tracks from Solid Groove and Fedde Le Grand don’t help particularly excite. It does redeem itself later in the mix though as Funkagenda’s La Souk picking things up a little and the big fuck off piano riff of Sterling Void’s Its Alright as the closer can rarely do wrong in my ears.
The third CD is the traditional end of night offering, stepping down the tempo just a touch and opening the set with a latino spiced flavour. Lacking the obvious spikes of its predecessors (well it would wouldn’t it). It does roll along comfortably enough even if it seems to lack a certain something (I would have preferred less vocal cuts). In its defence it does roll out some familiar faces that are pleasing enough to hear again. The likes of Alan Braxe, Jean Jacques Smoothie (Two People, now that its had a rest) and Basement Jaxx (Rendez Vu in the shape of a rounder bassier Sanchez mix) are passable enough as closers for the set.
All in all this is one of those collections that will be loved by a certain segment of the dance music community and thrown vicious looks by others. For me though there is enough here to put a smile on your face and a nod in your head. Recommended.