Let’s Dance – Various Artists – Sven Väth: What I Used To Play (Cocoon Recordings)

Reviewed by Ben Hogwood

What’s the story?

This is a proper labour of love from Cocoon Recordings, in honour of the rich musical heritage of their leader and founder Sven Väth. It is, in effect, a 36-track autobiography telling not just the story of his early DJing career through the 1980s, but a compendium of important electronic music released in that time.

Väth started the mammoth project during lockdown, a response to being unable to attend any parties or club nights of his own. Inevitably he started looking back at past successes and good times, and the idea of a full bodied compilation was born.

For vinyl afficionados, the collection is released on a set containing a dozen individually coloured 12” records, with full size portraits of Sven and each embossed with silver hot foil. There is also a triple CD release.

What’s the music like?

To say there are some classics in here would be an understatement, for the tracklisting is packed with electronic musical royalty. Kraftwerk’s Computerwelt, New Order’s Blue Monday, Frankie Knuckles and Jamie Principle in Your Love and the Andy Weatherall mix of Primal Scream’s Loaded are just four of the heavyweights here.

Most listeners will surely own these and not need them again, so the real interest comes when you dig deeper into the collection. Here you find uplifting anthems such as Hugh Masekela’s Don’t Go Lose It Baby, the self-titled Balearic classic from Sueño Latino, the early landmark Break 4 Love from Raze and Model 500’s No UFOs.

A Split create a real buzz with Second – Flesh, while Anne Clark’s Our Darkness is a thrill. Bobby Konders’ Nervous Acid works wonders with squiggly synthesizer lines, while one of the Afrobeat highlights is Le Serpent, from Guem Et Zaka Percussion. Logic System’s Unit starts the compilation, while Väth’s own collaborative effort 16 Bit gets a very welcome runout with Where Are You?

Does it all work?

It does – a thrilling documentary of some era-defining music. Whether or not the package itself is desirable will depend on the depth of peoples’ wallets, for the 12” box will set you back a cool €200.

Is it recommended?

Yes, enthusiastically – few history lessons are as enjoyable as this! Musically it is a no-brainer, but financial constraints may dictate otherwise.

Listen & Buy

You can explore purchase options via Sven Väth’s Bandcamp site, while you can hear musical clips on the Juno website

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