Cosmo Baker Loves Mixtapes

Cosmo Baker Loves Mixtapes

Philly deejay Cosmo Baker has been busy of late; compiling mixes, dj’ing parties and touring.  That first activity seems to be taking up an ever greater amount of the performer’s time. That, though, only means Baker has been listening to a lot of music and wants to make folks dance to what’s in his head.

Each of these two mixes XXXplosive and Love Break are drastically different in concept, scope and purpose. The first has been compiled with the assistance of Pase Rock and Spankrock (so far all of these deejay names are kinda lame, but that doesn’t portend bad music).  XXXplosive is less concerned with atmosphere or overall cohesiveness. The mix, however, is made up of four tracks consisting of a number of disparate tunes mashed together to create a rather lackluster hip-hop outing.

It’s not for lack of effort though.  Even the Temptations “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” is given the treatment (whether folks agree with the appropriation or not).Unfortunately, for us, that particular piece of soul doesn’t mesh well with the drum programming that has been selected for its accompaniment here.

Almost an opposite concept, interestingly, is broached while considering Love Break.  Instead of hip-hop and dance tracks, mood and soul are sometimes deftly dealt with. Similar to the last Jazzmatazz album, where in the liner notes Guru (RIP) proclaims that those listening should make some babies, Cosmo wants there to be some horizontal action taking place as a result of and moreover, to his mix of soul classics.  The selecting is a bit narrow when considering fodder that’s still left out there in basements and resale shops. Al Green is included as well as The Meters. Another big name, Nina Simone, is mixed in with the loping “Baltimore”: its guitar being reminiscent of a reggae or ska beat.

Surprisingly, the audio quality isn’t consistent throughout, which is a bit frustrating during tracks that may not be familiar to listeners, but doesn’t end up detracting too much from the overall affect. On occasion, though, crackling from the original vinyl can be made out which ads a bit of extra ambience to Love Break – just not enough for it to rank as a mix worth repeated visits.

Apart from audio consistency and the sound effects used to mix some of the tracks together, this is a decent listen, just not great: informative, soulful and useful during the night time hours.