Various This Side Up

With Canadian distribution, this hard-to-find 1998 gem of a compilation has happily moved within reach. The collection, sub-titled What Does It Mean So Far? offers a peak into the funk loving minds and ears of Vienna's Werner Geier and Rodney Hunter, producers, DJs and Uptight Records co-founders. The duo kick started their label in '94 when they co-wrote, produced and released Leena Conquest's "Boundaries," a raw, funky, politically charged underground hit represented here by DJ Zinc's head-nodding drum & bass remix. This Side Up gathers 14 Uptight-released tracks that beautifully represent a history. The stripped down '70s soul of Greg Perry's "Come Fly With Me" opens things up, with Perry's gorgeous, heart-felt vocals making it clear from the start that this is not another cookie-cutter bits 'n beats compilation. Urbs and Chaoz follow with the unbelievably beautiful, minimalist, melancholic hip-hop of "Closer to God," borrowing horn samples that would do Al Green proud. On the flip, Thievery Corporation offers a remix, or rather, rewrite, with their dubbed out "Far Away From God." Richard Dorfmeister also contributes his considerable remix skills to Mama Oliver's "East West," apparently a “crusty blues rock” original turned into a blissful, grooving, mid-tempo number. Komenda and Shantel team-up for the slow, sexy, dubby soul of "That Never Leaves Your Mouth," featuring vocals that will melt your heart. What it all means, so far, is that Uptight has soul as well as staying power. Yum. (Uptight)