the Buzz for November 7th, 2008


Quite the amusing cottage industry has sprung up over at Ultra Records, which, in a brilliant bit of counterprogramming against the ridiculous hip hop plague that ate top 40 radio, has emerged over the past two years as one of the premier labels for American dance music. Their terrific series of continuous mixes, all released under various shades of the Ultra um-ba-relly — pay special attention to the riveting Ultra Chilled compilations, which regularly feature brilliant, mellow mixes from Dido, Sarah McLachlan, Coldplay, and others — have proven to be reliably entertaining collections of music, and none more so than their latest project, Ultra.Mix.


Arranged by New York DJ Vic Latino (one of Ultra’s primary go-to guys; he’s that good), Mix contains stomping club versions of recent radio smashes from Rihanna (Jody Broeder’s remix of “Don’t Stop the Music,” whose dazzling centerpiece sample of Jacko’s “Wanna Be Startin’ Something” soars here), Jordin Sparks (“No Air,” her runaway hit duet with Chris Brown), September (the enchanting “Cry for You,” whose virtues I’ve already extolled ad nauseam on this site), and Madonna (“4 Minutes,” her nakedly desperate collaboration with Justin Timberlake and his posse). For good measure, Latino also tosses in two of 2008’s most fascinating dance tracks: “Pjanoo,” another breakneck masterwork from British electronica maestro Eric Prydz (best known over here for the club hits “Call On Me” and “Proper Education,” his amazing reinventions of Steve Winwood’s “Valerie” and Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall” respectively); and “The One,” Sharam’s bold (and stunningly adroit) attempt to refashion Daniel Bedingfield’s classic ballad “If You’re Not the One” as a dizzy four-on-the-floor epic.


Flawlessly assembled and rendered, Mix adds up to a brilliantly thrilling hour of nonstop fun, the likes of which are way too difficult to track down on the standard radio dial these days. If you’re not tappin’ your toes by the end of track number one, it must be because you’ve already fainted from the sheer giddy exhilaration of it all.