Get Physical 2nd Anniversary Compilation
icture this: you’re sitting down across from the dance floor looking at all the bodies perspiring to the groove, wondering how much alcohol it’s going to take before you can actually get your ass out of your seat and onto the floor. As you start to walk back towards the bar, you’re suddenly approached by Dirk Leyers from Closer Musik, who gradually puts his mouth to your ear and slowly whispers:
“Get physical, baby.”
It’s like someone has turned on a switch inside you, and all your lurid desires light up as you dance your way through the rest of the long, sticky night. These kind of contagious and compulsive rhythms are the ones you’ll find in droves on Get Physical’s 2nd Anniversary Compilation, the first CD from the Berlin-based label, and a sure frontrunner for the most exciting electronic mix of the year.
It was only a matter of time before the residue of Electroclash made its way into the current DNA of house, particularly in the techno-centric world of Germany. If the high-profile ascent of artists like Tiefschwarz, Rex the Dog, and Ivan Smagghe (all of whom combine elements of rude electro, minimal house, and acid) suggested that there was a change in the air, the Get Physical mix solidifies this notion while also proving to be an excellent calling card for electro-house in 2004.
The Get Physical sound is rooted in the deep house and acid house movements that emerged from Chicago in the late 80’s, as well as the current minimal techno scene in Germany, but they reinvent these ideas as something more visceral, more euphoric, and more exciting. Oh yes, something very physical indeed. It is music for the big-room that is not afraid to be smart and edgy; music that you can easily immerse yourself into, whether you are driving, clubbing, or traveling about.
The goofily named duo M.A.N.D.Y, one of the founders of Get Physical along with DJ T and Booka Shade, bring together an embarrassment of vinyl riches from the label’s first two years on this mammoth 19 track, 80 minute mix. Although the sequencing is excellent and packs quite a punch, the focus is more on the individual tracks than on the mixing, as M.A.N.D.Y. often stand back and let the songs do the talking (and the carnage) for them. After opening up with Lopazz’s slinky Barry White pastiche “Take Me Home”, we move straight into high-octane terrority with DJ T’s “Philly” and “Freemind”, two major highlights whose monotone bass stabs, widescreen synth pads, wailing vocal snippets, and splintered drums nail down the Get Physical sound to, well, a tee. Chelonis R. Jones, a New York novelist and painter turned sensual house vocalist, is probably the most versatile artist on the roster, able to switch from sleazy intimidation on “Blackout” to poetic longing on “One & One” and “I Don’t Know”. He’s also the closest Get Physical has to a breakout artist, as he has appeared on Ivan Smagghe’s popular How to Kill The DJ and Suck My Deck mixes.
With 19 tracks to choose from, there are so many moments that could be singled out here, like the way M.A.N.D.Y.’s ruthless 8-bit monster “Don’t Stop” suddenly morphs into DJ T’s “Starlit”, (which dramatically recasts the synth line from “Hypnotic Tango”) or when the abstract drum noodling of Booka Shade’s “Up” dissolves into the nasty sawtooth waves of DJ T’s “Phantomas”. All of these moments are the genesis of what makes this mix so exciting—it’s literally one rush of adrenalin after another for over an hour, with only a few pauses for breath throughout.
So yes, thanks to Get Physical, along with aforementioned Ivan Smagghe and Tiefschawarz, we could be in line for full-on electro-house/minimal acid revival in 2005, with this mix acting as the catalyst. The enthusiasm is certainly there: the slogans etched onto their records (”A physical product for physical moments,” ”Get physical and stay alive”) suggest a vivacity that is ravenous and eager to make your body pulsate once again. So go on, now. Get physical.