Various Artists Hatched Vol. 1
As one might expect, Hatched Vol. 1, the latest compilation from playful San Francisco house hub Dirtybird, offers a fitting cross-section of riotous party jams, tapping both label mainstays and new faces for a compilation of tunes geared for ass-shaking fury. At its best, the songs expertly present a fun-loving, dancefloor-friendly vibe while navigating straights that run dangerously close to ridiculous and absurd territory, at times even brushing up against the dreaded novelty-song label. Given these dangers, it's fair to say that not all the songs on Hatched Vol. 1 reach the heights achieved by the upper echelons of the Dirtybird catalogue. There's a head-scratcher or two in there, and the songs that shed the bouncing house attitude in favor of a darker bass aesthetic unfortunately don't yield the same results as the booty-shaking bangers.
Nevertheless, the 12-song compilation strongly storms out of the gate with a cut from the label boss himself, Claude VonStroke, who's collaborating for the first time with Bristolian up-and-comer Eats Everything. The track, "Ignorance is Bliss," is vintage Dirtybird, featuring an engrossing bassline, potent builds, hum-along melodies, and crisp percussion. The song's vocal sample is present from start to finish, and, true to the label's inherent oddball nature, sounds like it was lifted from a sea shanty. The next major highlight comes from Belgian producer Kill Frenzy, a newcomer to the Dirtybird imprint. His tune, "Booty Clap," is a ridiculous piece of ghetto bass that immediately pulls the audience in with hand claps and a vocal sample demanding that listeners "make that booty clap." After two minutes, the song begins to melt away, losing its mids and highs and slowing down to 90 bpm. The hand claps and vocals do return, albeit in a pitched-down form, and the slowed-down interlude lasts less than two minutes before the song returns to pace. Initially, it all seems over-the-top and jarring, but the track, if used correctly, will undoubtedly serve as red meat for clubgoers.
Another standout is "Shy Look" from Dirtybird veteran Worthy. It's a simple but engaging number with a ferocious bassline, a chopped female vocal sample, and punchy percussion. Similarly excellent is Catz 'n Dogz's "Bring me Some Water," which may be the Polish duo's best jam to date. The bouncing bass is tremendous fun, and the chopped vocals about wanting a drink of water is surely something that MDMA-using ravers will be able to relate to. Sacha Robotti's tune is another high-quality offering, while Kingdom and Nick Monaco (remixed by Soul Clap) provide interesting listens, even if their selections aren't geared toward dancefloor revelry.
On the other end of the spectrum, Christian Martin's "Waiting" is probably the most serious disappointment on the album. It's hard to tell if the Christina Aguilera sample is a joke gone wrong—perhaps it's meant as a commentary on the overuse of R&B vocal samples in recent bass music—but in any case, it doesn't really work. Instead of livening up the dancefloor, the song is likely to prompt confused looks and partygoers to yell, "Is this a 'Genie in a Bottle' remix?" over the track's heavy sub. A1 Bassline's "Why Do You?" also struggles while exploring a UK bass sound that's still somewhat out of the ordinary for Dirtybird, as the song's tension is never properly released into an actual boogie. BrEaCh's remix of DJ Cra$y's "That Amen Track" is a far cry from last year's solid remix of "I Need You," and feels busy and directionless. "Jerry's Liquor Store" by Tom Flynn feels similarly drawn out, as does Samuel Dan's "Bitch," which is further derailed by its cringe-inducing vocals.
Weaknesses aside, Hatched Vol. 1 is nonetheless characterized by Dirtybird's hallmark happy-go-lucky goofiness and thunderous, bouncing bass. The disarming qualities and unpretentious nature of the compilation's standout selections beg for their inclusion in almost any DJ's repertoire, as the tunes seem to be having so much fun on their own that they can likely be counted upon to compel even the most uptight of club patrons to throw away their inhibitions and join the party.
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