In the late '90s, it may be seen as obsolete to try and release a compilation that is neither 1) trance nor 2) trance. Yes, while the popular dance world was spinning on its own narrow axis, there were still musicians like Kid Loco bucking the trends and releasing chill-out albums like this: his own clandestinely mischievous installment in the DJ-Kicks series. The problem is that despite such a non-conformist stance, there's something wrong in its unpleasant mesh of moods. This means that while including songs such as the easy-breathing trip-hop of Jazzanova's "Introspection" or the cycling mantra of Underworld's "Blueski" make for an interesting mix, the fact that they are so close next to so many songs centered around childish jabs (a porno-sampling track by Common Ground, the cartoon-squealing track by Tom Tyler, etc.), the tones tend to cancel each other out. Loco seems lost in deciding whether to make a straight-forward, jazz-centric, chill-out album or a slightly nutty experiment. If he went confidently into one direction, the results would have been much better. Because, again, for every magnetic track like Boards of Canada' "Happy Cycling," there is a silly track like a remix of Deep Season's "Jesus Christ Almighty" right next door. In other words, right when the mood is being set, the listener is covertly being taken into another. Which isn't such a bad plan. It's just poorly done since these exact shifts seem sadly slipshod instead of effective. This methodology of going for the chill-out and simultaneously trying to tickle your ribs just grates after awhile. So in the end, Loco's mixing skill and urge to fiddle with chill-out templates are laudable. However, the entire compilation still feels defective, and an opening sample probably best explains the reason why: a man asks, "Don't you know I'm loco?" While the answer might be, "yes," it might also be, "not loco enough."
© Dean Carlson /TiVo