Various: Looking Back Vol. 5 (2002)
Imagine a label with such a consistently high quality and prolific outpouring of content that every couple of years, if not more it can put together retrospective compilations with highlights just from the recent past. This is the position the Good Looking Organization is in. The leaders in atmospheric, jazzy and melodic drum & bass, they put out so much great material that they need four labels to handle it all. This compilation, on the Looking Good imprint, makes them look just that. Volume 5 goes back as far as 1999 and brings you some tracks that simply glisten with polished melodies and soulful construction. You pretty much know what you’re getting with a Good Looking release, so it’s more of the same, but as fresh sounding and enjoyable as always. Avid Nation’s “Riding Higher” builds slow into a jazz-dipped excursion with an organic-feeling bass and just a touch of female vocals, displaying the production mastery associated with the label. Rantoul’s “Default” has a slightly harder edge, with a rolling break, darker mood and video game style noises peppering the soundscape. If you know anything about Good Looking and its suite of labels, you know what this compilation is all about, whether or not you are familiar with the individual artists. It’s Looking Good and sounding even better.