Various Heavy Breathing Vol. 2: Thrill Me

At first glance, this second instalment in German label Normal’s four-part Heavy Breathing series seems like just another collection of "sexy” dance music. Look a little closer, however, and you’ll find that the tracks compiled here are part of some contrived and somewhat misguided essay on black sexuality set to music. The collection attempts to cover a wide range of musically forms, from funk, soul and ’50s blues to hip-hop, Trojan-era reggae and reggaeton, a plus that sees Pete "Guitar” Lewis, Ike and Tina, and Grace Jones lined up beside De La Soul, Kool Keith and N.E.R.D. Unfortunately, the only thing unifying the 18 songs gathered here are the simplistic elements of carnal sexuality contained in each (orgasmic moans, generally, rather than sexy lyrics), which result in a weak selection of cuts from what really is a pretty decent line-up. These faults may have been forgiven, however, were it not for compiling producer and liner note writer Didi Neidhart’s insistence on giving backhanded praise to the sexual and musical prowess of the black artists compiled here. The tragically witless Neidhart repeatedly confuses the significance of the cuts based on his fractured understanding of American civil rights history (the famed Southern Chitlin’ Circuit is referred to here as the "chicken circuit”). The word "monkey” also shows up in his notes. Let’s just hope that was an error in translation. (Normal)