He’s been in the game for two decades now but to many, Fritz Kalkbrenner is still suffering from a bad case of being ‘the brother of’. Quite unfair, really, given the man's outstanding output of recent years. Originally a hiphop-head, Paul introduced him to techno back in the 90s after which Fritz went on to become a very productive musician/vocalist with a penchant for all things soulful and warm. Following the release of his excellent 2012 album Here Today Gone Tomorrow, Fritz now returns to the SUOL imprint with a brand new compilation showcasing his hiphop/funk background.
Overall speaking, Suol Mates has become a very organic and vivid affair in which slow-jam funk, hiphop, house and hints of disco are the key elements. The mix opens with a handful of obscure funk/disco-crossovers and if that’s your thing than these tunes will definitely get your groove on. The soulful hiphop tune When She Smiles She Lights The Sky by Plantlife and J Dilla’s extremely laidback Won’t Do are among the best tracks to be found in the first part, after which the compilation moves on to groovier heights with tracks such as Oddisee’s When Everything Changed and Fritz Kalkbrenner’s own Ruby Lee, a very hot piece of deep house funk a la Henrik Schwartz. Throughout the mix, Fritz manages to keeps things balanced which is an accomplishment on its own if you consider the relatively high amount of genres and dynamics it holds.
The second half of the mix contains the best moments: Owusu And Hannibal’s Lonnie’s Secret is rigged with a disco groove that’s so incredibly sexy not a single disco lover won’t be able to resist, Motor City Drum Ensemble’s remix of NUFrequency feat. Ben Onono’s Fallen Hero is pure solid deep house gold, while tunes such as Fruits Of The Spirit by Boo Williams and Missing Linkx’ Got A Minute close the compilation with some energetic semi-house grooves.
Our verdict: Fritz Kalkbrenner has crafted a very credible and very, very enjoyable mix compilation full of obscurities any disco/funk/soul/hiphop/house fanatic can sway to. There’s a hardly a weak moment to be heard, which further underlines Fritz’ talent for blending genres in a non-cheesy way. In other words, a release that emphasizes the soul in music, regardless of genre.
1. SoulPhiction - Soul Print 2. Black Milk - U‘s A Freak B*tch (Instrumental) 3. Roy Ayers - Funk In The Hole 4. Plantlife - When She Smiles She Lights The Sky 5. Pete Rock - Back On Da Block Feat. CL Smooth (Pete‘s Block Party Dub) 6. J Dilla - Won‘t Do (Instrumental) 7. Johnson Products - Johnson Jumpin' 8. RJD2 - Clean Living 9. Oddisee - When Everything Changed 10. Fritz Kalkbrenner - Ruby Lee 11. Lawrence - Precious Hall 12. Memoryman aka Uovo - Sleepless Disco Night (Terje Bakke‘s Afterhour Remix) 13. Owusu And Hannibal - Lonnie‘s Secret 14. NUfrequency Feat. Ben Onono - Fallen Hero (Motor City Drum Ensemble Remix) 15. Fantastic Man - From Start To Finish 16. Boo Williams - Fruits Of The Spirit 17. Fritz Kalkbrenner - Right In The Dark (Henrik Schwarz Remix - Chopstick & 18. Johnjon Edit) 19. Missing Linkx - Got A Minute 20. Tom Trago - Lost In The Streets Of NYC 21. Robag Wruhme - Robellada