Urban Connections - The Eighth Passenger

Spanish netlabel Urban Connections returns with yet another eclectic collection of Electro tunes you simply cannot miss out on. This new one, like all the previous, is free, and carefully handpicked by a well seasoned composer and producer who goes by the name of Amper Clap. The talent you will find in all these compilations is more than apparent, and the range of styles and mix of veteran and up and coming artists makes them even more interesting. These compilations you could say, are a great way to sample the new flavors of our music, knowing that in every one of them you will find the highest quality and dedication to originality.


With that said, if what you are looking for ambient, Downtempo sounds, then artists like OMD, Holon, David Boura, and Laka942 will please your senses from start to finish with incredible attention to detail and soulfulness to spare, each in their own unique style bringing in majestic, alluring melodies and atmospheres that round off the album with really chill, thought-provoking vibes. Lovers of Synth Pop and early 80's Depeche Mode influenced material on the other hand, will really enjoy the futuristic approach of Cybereign's "Life Evolves Time", which gracefully adopts past and future in a well-rounded tune that stomps along mercilessly as the intriguing melodies take charge. 


Perhaps if you are crossing over from the Breaks scene, songs by DJ Pink Champaigne, Negocious Man, and Turbolover will remind you of the great days of Rave with plush melodies, intelligent sequencing and galvanizing grooves to get you on the dancefloor with attitude. Top notch tunes, especially for a guy like me who grew up in this scene before getting into Electro Bass music. Love that I can sample a bit of Breaks nostalgia while seeing what's new and coming from often unexpected places.


But now, let's get into the nitty gritty if you will! The really really tough stuff. While it is true that Amper Clap, and his label Urban Connections seek out an eclectic group of individuals to participate in these compilations each time, it is also no mystery that the primary agenda of the imprint is to help further the so called "Electro" sound; that is, the music that many people view as being Electro/Techno Bass, Synth Pop, and the retro styles of Electro Funk. Here, you will get a healthy dose of all of it with plenty of flavors to choose from, and all with incredible dedication to keeping true to each of these styles. 


For those into B-Boy Electro Funk tunes for example, you may wanna check out Nanomachine's "Terra Frequency"; a melancholic, yet fierce song that speeds right out of the gates and unto the tracks with determined 808s and a bassline that will send chills down your spine. The thing that sticks out about this song is its brooding, yet somehow uplifting and soulful aspect that balances things out real well. A tough tune no doubt, but with a vulnerability that adds meaning to it. The other tune right along the same lines is Amper Clap's ferocious "Cyber Emperor". Another mystifying jam with attitude and wild programming to tantalize your brain with clever sound effects. This one is a little less retro than the previous, but clearly representing the Hip Hop flavor of Electro Funk tunes with careful programming of the 808.


For fans of the Techno Bass sound and its rather progressive and futuristic approach, there are no shortages here. In fact, I would argue most of the songs on this compilation aim at looking keenly towards the future, with a strong foundation in the Detroit and Miami sound. Tunes by Datawave, Order Of The Muffin, David Sicrock, and Techcontrol stick to the more classic, darker, and abstract styles, bringing in mysterious basslines and synths that haunt you from beginning to end.


Others by artists like "I o 001" and Kitty Von Maisen stay more hypnotic and soulful, like some of the more typical Detroit 4x4 Techno tunes. If you like Acid-influenced Bass music, check out David Pasajero's gem "Out of Mind", which brings in classic 303s and a bit of an Acid House feel that compliments all the styles here real well. Maybe you wanna dive into a little bit of straight up 4x4 Techno however, where the Dr. Floyd remix of The KLF's "What Time Is Love"; the last tune on the record, will please you with big sound, and relentless syncopations to get you movin' and groovin'!


Overall a great addition to the family of already 8 compilations strong, all of which deserve lots of attention and play. I have personally been a huge fan of these since they began to publish back in 2015, and have found that every tune, even if not necessarily my style, is done with integrity, and originality and raises the bar of its particular flavor with class. Top notch all around and highly recommended label and compilation series. Best of all? These are all free! Support now, and remember: Sharing is caring! :)





Reviewed by: Santino Fernandez

September 2017