Music News

DJ Mark Farina

With his latest Mushroom Jazz compilation, Mark Farina, the preternatural DJ who's made his name on the looped-out frames of San Francisco and Chicago house, continues the trend of cut-up artists sampling a more soothing style in search of a vibe that will satisfy a club crowd not as young as it once was.

Carefully sifting through genres and rhythms, Farina displays eclectic tastes and well-rounded skills with a 19-track atmosphere that is at once past-cool, present-funk and future-mellow. Blending in bebop horns, head-nodding backbeats and keyboard melodies, this collection finds Farina at his most comfortable and enjoyable.

Kicking off with Pete Rock's "A Little Soul," Farina finds the groove-source from which the rest of this collection draws. What gives Farina the edge here is a seamless transitional quality that allows him the space to drop roots-rocking hip-hop from People Under the Stairs ("Suite for Beaver Pt. 1") before sidewinding his way into Trankilou's smoothed-out "Chicago Babe." And when the whacking guitars jangle on in Jboom's "Wiggle & Giggle," all the pieces are in place for a rebirth of the cool.

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Kevin McLaughlin