Let no smartass tell you that the mix CD is dead. It’s changed, like everything else has changed, and the ubiquity of DJ mixes in the internet era has probably dented the market significantly. But in place of grim label showcases and DJ mixes that in no way resemble what the titular DJ would ever play, conceptual series and rare & remixed compilations like those Joey Negro’s Z Records puts out still make the format a delight. These are simply things you can’t easily find elsewhere. I’m not sure how it works as a business model but as a listener, these things are a marvelous way to spend a few hours – a series of lodestars to artists and labels and microscenes I might have heard in passing but never sat down and learned much about.
Sean P is in charge of Volume 5 of Z Records’ Under The Influence – apparently, he has had a lot to do with Z Records’ past compilations and a leading role in their Soul of Disco and Supafunkanova series. The double CD set features 27 tracks that hit upon Funk, Soul, Afro-Disco and seemingly every microgenre in between. Some favorites: Plunky and Oneness of Ju Ju’s “Electric Juju Nation/Keep It Moving” (which begs a story, to be sure), George & Glen Miller’s “Easing” and Medina & Mensah’s “Kowree Sambazzi.” I’d like to meet the guy for whom these records are staples of his collection, but I have the feeling he’d never take them out of a protective plastic shell. Once again, Z Records offers up the Everyman music lover’s delight.