A Night At The Tunnel: Big Room Anthems
by Matt Kalkhoff

The folks over at Nervous Records have really outdone themselves with their new continuous mix CD, "A Night At The Tunnel." This high-powered compilation starts out by welcoming listeners to the Tunnel, then jumps right into Kim English’s latest #1 Billboard hit, "Missing You." We’ve missed her too since DJs finally laid to rest the inescapable "Unspeakable Joy" just a short while ago (thank God!). Joi Cardwell steps up next to share with us her strong desire to go higher on the Millennium remix of that bouncy classic "Jump for Joi" (also currently gracing Billboard’s Top 20 Dance Chart). This is just one of many songs from yesteryear that have found new life in clubland courtesy of modernized remix treatments. Scattered vocals and heavy, pulsating rhythms are abundant in the next two songs, "Get On Down" by L.E.D. and "In Front (Wan It)" by NY Connection. The former contains some strong language and may not be suitable for younger listeners, while the latter builds up gradually, eventually exploding in an orgy of Victor Calderone’s signature hard tribal beats and percussive sounds. It also mixes smoothly into Rob Base & DJ EZ Rock’s "Ready 2 Party" (remember them from the 80s?). Again, we get more scattered male vocals and a bit too much repetition on the Hip House/House remix by DJ Skribble and Anthony Acid. This filler song does, however, offer a variety of interesting tempo changes throughout, and certainly works well enough as a transition piece. A more sophisticated and groove-oriented song, Robbie Rivera’s "The One," follows, which also provides a stunning opening for Charlotte’s "Someday," her spectacular follow-up to "Skin." Anthony Acid lends a hand in remixing this optimistic and, relatively speaking, fluffy record. Beware – it’s pure pop, and it’s catchy as hell. Hannah Jones then adds to the "divas with issues" theme of this CD by exploring the awkwardness of a one-night stand on the Razor-N-Guido mix of "Was That All It Was." The next song took me by surprise, and even seemed poorly mixed at first. After a few listens, however, I now appreciate the thunderous, almost out-of-place vocals which Junior Vasquez deliberately accentuates on Soul Seekers featuring Deepa Soul’s "Nowhere Love." She’s fed up, she’s tired of being alone, and she’s not afraid to tell us about it. Junior then builds on the already brisk beats with his dramatic Marathon remix of the Twilo anthem, "Sssst...Listen" by Jonah. Dawn Tallman’s up next with her gospel-influenced and extremely peppy number, "Wake Up." Hex Hector turns up the energy and encourages us all to repent for our sins on his infectious Hard Church Vocal mix. You’ll no doubt find yourself singing along to this captivating tune. Alas, the Tunnel is closing, and for those of us still on the dance floor (okay, the living room floor), it’s time to say goodbye. And what better way to do so than with the tranquil and transcendent Ghetto Style Dub of Byron Stingily’s "That’s The Way Love Is"?

Let’s hope we don’t have to wait too long before we see another continuous mix CD by the remarkably talented DJ Jason Ojeda. Nervous has definitely found a formula here that works. You may not have ever stepped foot in the actual Tunnel space, but at least with this CD, you can experience the magic again and again in the comfort of your own home, without the unnecessary burden of security, a cover charge, or door drama.

© 2000 Matt Kalkhoff

This review was featured on the DanceMusic.About.com site in April 2000.