France's Versatile Records has forged its own path since its inception in 1996. Headed by dj and producer Gilb'R (Gilbert Cohen), the label has seen releases from a diverse group of artists including I:Cube, Pépé Bradock, Joakim and Etienne Jaumet. 1996-2016 Sampler offers up select tracks from the label's twentieth anniversary compilation, 1996/2016. Dance music might be what ties the four tracks together but they're about as varied as they come. Label stalwart I:Cube drops some house with "VVV," and new comer John Cravache turns in some rather stunning techno. The field recordings Cravache uses add an otherworldly element to what might otherwise be a straightforward cut. DJ Sotofett's "Live Jazz" mix of "Foliage," a collaboration between him and Gilb'R is the standout here. Rolling percussion that moves in and out of time is punctuated by Ethiopiques like saxophone lines while fractured Morse Code bubbles up to the surface. It's a textually engaging piece that draws you deep into its jungle world. Rounding out the 12" is Zombie Zombie cover version of New Order's seminal "The Beach," a track previously only available on bootleg 7".
- music label: Versatile Records 2016
reviewed by Hank Ohs 11/2016