X-press 2 Muzikizum

After nine years together and apart, X-press 2's debut album is something to celebrate. Over ten tracks and one hour the trio brings together new tracks as well as some of their best house music singles of the past two years. Ashley Beedle, Rocky and Diesel have been producing music together since 1993. Their first single, "Music X-Press," set the tone for their inventive and percussive house. They followed up with many more treasured house singles, branched out to funk and drum & bass as the Ballistic Brothers, and have also worked separately in other genres. The album opens with last year's "Muzikizum," a fine techno-influenced club track. Other previously released tracks include 2001's siren-filled "Smoke Machine" and 2000's "AC/DC," the track that reunited them after a break of a few years. "Lazy," their collaboration with David Byrne, is here of course, and besides soundtracking a thousand summer parties, it will undoubtedly be remembered as one of the finest songs of 2002. Of the new tracks, "Angel" is proper tech-house, "I Want You Back," featuring Yello's Dieter Maier on vocals, is disco motorik-nouveau, and "The Ending" finishes the album with a techno twist. X-press 2 has also made a unique choice in editing their songs to fit the album, instead of cutting the ten- and 12-minute singles to horrendous four-minute edits, they have merely trimmed them to about seven minutes. I wish more dance artists would try this. This album is classy house music without a whiff of cheese. Play it loud! (Sony)