Artist: James Talk
Title: Thinking Out Loud
Label: Nascent Recordings
By: Nick Williams | 6 July 2006
  1. Max Fresh - Ride Up To The Stars
  2. Hernan Cerbello - Don't Disturb
  3. Mark Knight Feat Katherine Ellis - Insatiable (Buick Project Mix)
  4. Izit - Heavy What? (Our Version)
  5. Justin Martin - Cicada (Claude Von Stroke Mix)
  6. James Talk & Dave Robertson - Mine & His EP (Mine Version)
  7. Rich Sutcliffe - Mummy Can I Join The Stoners Club (Tommy Largo Mix)
  8. Beta Blokka - Beta Blokka (James Talk 'Acid Lives On' Mix)
  9. Buick Project - Luminare (Onionz Rub)
  10. James Talk - House Rhythm
  11. Haris - Madness
  12. Streetlife - Bodywork (Bassline Dub)
  13. Radar - Fields Of Green

James Talk "Thinking Out Loud"James Talk "Thinking Out Loud"

Out Now on Nascent Recordings

Ever since Mr. James Talk erupted onto the scene with his first single 'Eggs Are Cute', followed by some notable interest from one of the most important figures in dance music today, Pete Tong, it seems like James is poised to reach DJ super-stardom before reaching age 25. With releases on a whole slew of the biggest labels in such a short amount of time, namely Nic Fanciulli's Saved Records, Sander Kleinenberg's Little Mountain Records, and an upcoming release on MANDY's Get Physical label in the near future, it is no surprise that King Unique chose him as a resident for their "Curfew Time" nights in England. His combinations of gritty acid synth lines and bouncy, squiggly basslines have solidified his presence in the dance music community.

The idea behind Nascent Recordings' 'Thinking Out Loud' series is to provide an upcoming Producer/DJ a creative outlet to show the world what they are made of, and what they are capable of. James' love of all things acid, combined with deep house grooves, has created a style that has propelled him into the limelight. Considering the amount of DJs out there in the world, you could ask how one person could shine in such a short amount of time?... Some would say luck, some would say skill, but I say let's take a listen to this album and come to a verdict once and for all. Let's see if James' talk holds water.

Max Fresh's 'Ride Up To The Stars' opens James' CD with sweet, sexy grooves that set the mood perfectly with nothing to over the top, just solid deep house music. The acid influences start to make their way in with Hernan Cerbello's 'Don't Disturb', with short squishy stabs, yet the deep groove keeps rolling on and on. Subtle dub influences peek their head into the mix here as well, creating a deeper ambiance that will prepare us for the acid onslaught to come.

After this mood is set, the club appeal starts to make its way in with the Buick Project's remix of 'Insatiable'. The shuffley nature flows well off of the grooves that start the mix and the trippy dub influences make their way in more as we groove on with this number. Electro elements also bring intensity to the build, and help to bridge the transition into some harder acid elements. We then make our way into the soft, smooth chords of Izit's 'Heavy What?'. The squishy basslines and stabs keep the acid vibe rolling while also acting to keep the momentum up.

Where this mix really starts to show form occurs right when the buzzing of the cicada makes it's appearance. Claude Von Stroke's remix of Justin Martin's 'Cicada' denotes the beginning of what I like to call the "Acid Funk Workout". This is what makes this CD shine, the core of the mix. It is also great to see some fellow San Franciscans represented on this mix, as this is one hell of a track. Shuffley, funky, and rowdy, this is the turning point from background to foreground music.

We shove on right into a collaboration between James and the very talented Dave Robertson, entitled 'Mine & His (Mine Version)'. This is the first showcase of James’ own production and as one would expect, the acid funk is in full effect. This track works well off of the bassline of 'Cicada', yet brings a harsher filtered acid element to the mix, easing us into the darker side of acid, the side that I know James lives for… and we are only 30 minutes into the mix! Quite a nice build-up to this point, showcasing a fair amount of James' influences.

The workout continues with Tommy Largo's remix of Rich Sutcliffe, and if you are not sweating it up by now, you need to get your head checked. Bendy and trippy in all the right places, this remix peaks the mix for me. James then turns the direction a bit by throwing another of his own productions in the mix with his remix of Beta Blokka. Giving us a bit of a breather compared to the previous couple rippers, but still keeping the acid dial to "sickly" we make our way towards the Onionz Rub of Buick Project's 'Luminare'. Being quite the fan of the original mix, I was anxious to see how this edit would stand in this mix. All in all, a bit of a harder version to the track, but still eased up on the intensity compared to previous few songs.

To be honest this is where I started losing a bit of interest in this mix, as the intensity of the music has been brought down a bit too early for my tastes, especially with how the build-up went for the first 30 minutes of the CD, it seems like it should have kept rising. The old hip hop samples and funky bassline of James’ first release on his own Spoken Records does a great job of bringing the intensity up a bit, but it seems like it would have fit better earlier in the mix.

For the close of James' Thinking Out Loud, 'Madness', seems to be the standout track for me, with smooth vocals and deep chordy stabs. I get a really distinct London feel from this song, but then get a bit thrown off by the inclusion of the Bassline Dub of 'Bodywork' by Streetlife. It was going in a sort of wind-down direction, and now it changes direction again, then changes directions once again and goes into the closing song by Radar. I was a bit confused by this ending bit, as the progression is convoluted.

Don't get me wrong, however, as Thinking Out Loud 2 showcases some great tracks, and James' productions are solid and funk filled, just the way I like them. With a series entitled Thinking Out Loud, I know that James wanted to fit all of his musical tastes into this CD, but for the running time it seemed like a few of the mixes were forced in order to take the direction of the CD a certain way, or to fit certain songs in. The programming of the second half could have been much better, but my half hour acid workout definitely made up for it. James definitely has talent, but I don’t think it has been fully realized yet. I enjoyed this heavily, and if you reminisce towards the past acid house days and love it when DJs bring the funk, go and buy yourself a copy of this, you'll be sweating it out to the "Acid Funk Workout" in no time!

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