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Sounds of Om, Vol.2

Andy Caldwell & Various Artists

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Album Review

Much like the first volume, Sounds of Om, Vol. 2 showcases some of the West Coast house label's standout tracks conveniently mixed together in an effective manner by a prominent DJ. Yet, while these two volumes function similarly as both label sampler and DJ showcase, there are some noticeable differences between the two. First of all, in the two years separating the two releases — 1998 and 2000, respectively — Om recruited a new class of producers, trading brand-name producers like Naked Music NYC, Derrick Carter, King Britt, and Joshua for less-established producers like Soulstice, West Magnetic, King Kooba, and Afro Mystik. This new class of producers still specializes in the same sort of upbeat, sunshine-infused, feel-good West Coast house Om essentially trademarked in the late '90s, yet they take a slightly different approach than their predecessors. Their knack for singsong diva vocals and laid-back tempos represents a more listener-friendly sound for Om — songs like the Andy Caldwell remix of Soulstice's "Lovely," Gabriel Rene's "Don't Cry," and Rithma's "Mo(ve)ments" being both examples of this aesthetic and highlights of the mix. Secondly, Andy Caldwell succeeds DJ Fluid as the DJ for this volume, and definitely adds his signature touch to the mix. Given Caldwell's affiliation with Soulstice, it's no surprise he throws in more than a couple Soulstice tracks and sequences them in key positions — as a result, they stand out. Furthermore, though there are only a few Soulstice tracks, Caldwell selects a number of accompanying tracks, like the aforementioned "Don't Cry," that sound awfully close to Soulstice. Overall, Om's approach to this second volume should please anyone who enjoyed their string of 1999-2000 12"s and full-lengths by the featured producers. And the fact that Caldwell keeps the energy level relatively high with a number of dancefloor-orientated remixes and never slacks when it comes to mixing only makes the album better. Whether listeners are looking for a one-stop Om best-of or a top-notch West Coast house mix, Sounds of Om, Vol. 2 succeeds as both, making it an album that should appeal to a large audience, and rightfully so.

Biography

Born: California

Genre: Dance

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Since finding his initial success as part of the San Francisco-area group Soulstice, house producer and DJ Andy Caldwell has gone on to post an extensive résumé in the club and dance music world. Breaking through in 1994 with his single "Superfunkidiculous," Caldwell became a key figure in the regional club scene, forming the group Soulstice with collaborator Gabriel Rene. The innovative downtempo group released two records on prominent Bay Area label Om Records, including their critically acclaimed...
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Sounds of Om, Vol.2, Andy Caldwell
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