Photographer: Todd Hart.
In 2004, DJ Erol Alkan released a continuous-mix album titled Bugged Out. Featuring emerging and established artists like Justice, Steve Bug, and Roman Flugel, it helped to define the parameters of what would come to be called electro-house. Alongside that album, he also released a more laid-back compilation aimed more at the home listener than the club denizen, and titled it Bugged In. Eight years later, he follows up with this similarly configured two-disc set, one that looks simultaneously backward and forward. The opening three tracks on the Bugged Out disc span three decades of house music, from its foundations (represented by DJ Ron Hardy) to a ten-year-old track by Smith n Hack, and then a recent tune by In Flagranti. Some things change, and (with house music in particular) some remain the same, notably the relentlessly thumping four-beats-to-the-bar kick drum -- a pattern that is nicely broken up halfway through disc one by Unovidual & Tara Cross' fine "Like I Am/Comme Je Suis." Despite the rhythmic samey-ness, Alkan is a genius at textural variation and the mix is very enjoyable. Disc two starts out with a hoary old chestnut from the Jan Hammer Group -- a 1977 tune titled "Don't You Know." It then proceeds to range all over the place, from a cassette field recording of a Los Angeles street musician performing "Major Tom (Coming Home)" to the Make-Up's goofy "I Am Pentagon," and Bibio's neo-hippy anthem "All the Flowers." Here the focus is on actual songs and the grooves are much more subtle, but they're still undeniably present, making this pair of discs a nicely complementary set. ~ Rick Anderson