“Did you ever stop to think that we live in a world of sounds? There are all kinds of sounds around us. All the time. Everywhere.”
Then, light, smooth guitar chords. A walking bassline, and the first steady, bouncing beat of Mushroom Jazz Eight. With this introduction, Mark Farina launches us into the next installment of his lauded series of dance mixes. A muted trumpet melody tell us that we’re going to have some fun, we’re going to groove, and we are going to get down to a DJ who has been showing us how it’s done for decades.
For 75 minutes, Mark Farina is your guide on a funky voyage that is at once chill, energetic, psychedelic, and exceptionally crafty. From one beat to another, each track transition is so seamless that there is never so much as a partial disconnection. This mix does not switch songs, it simply evolves through soundscape after soundscape. The most subtle of additions and subtractions ensure that there is never a dull moment. It’s jazz, it’s hip-hop, it’s soul, it’s funk, it’s electronic, and it is damn danceable.
Of course, none of this comes as a surprise to fans of Farina. After seven volumes of a series of consistent top-quality music, there was no doubt that Volume Eight would be one for the ages. Nevertheless, my personal favourites seem to sit a little earlier in the series (namely, volumes 2 and 3), so I wasn’t necessarily expecting Mark Farina to break out one of his best. Maybe it’s just that the mix is still fresh, but Volume Eight is a champion even among Mushroom Jazz compilations. I have yet to find a DJ who can create a morphing mix as brilliantly detailed as Mark Farina. Take your pick from the criteria of song selection, modification of the original tracks, flow…Farina is a master in every musical aspect that makes DJing unique.
One thing I noticed that separates this volume from the others is the lack of extended vocal sections. There are, of course, vocal samples and individual lines that are repeated, but there are no multi-verse hip-hop segments or R&B anthems on this one. I found that this gave Volume Eight a particularly jazzy sound, which sits just right with me. Throwing Herbie Hancock’s “Chameleon” in certainly didn’t hurt in creating that vibe.
Mark Farina is the artist that I would credit for making me realize just how interesting electronic music can be. Mushroom Jazz Eight is yet another testament to what brilliant DJs are capable of. Don’t sleep on this one, and if you’re new to Mark Farina, just pick any Mushroom Jazz compilation and sink into the groove.