Since the mid-Nineties, when record labels discovered that mix compilations were the best way to capitalize on world-renowned DJs who weren't prolific musicians (or, in many cases, didn't produce records at all), nightclub owners have used their venues' names to create brand-name discs, from the top-notch Fabric series to the Ministry of Sound compilations (both named after London hotspots), that are aesthetically and commercially successful in their own right. Surprisingly, though, Miami's many lounges and nightclubs don't aim for the same commercial heights. They usually cobble together small runs of "lifestyle" discs -- the Raleigh's Tropical Tease compilations, for example, or Space's recent Spacemix -- and then sell them at local clothing shops or hand them out as promotional items.
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It would be a shame if the recent Amika compilation suffered the same fate: a mere novelty to be bought by tourists who happen to stroll into Base or some other Lincoln Road boutique. Mixed by Shawn Rudnick and released on local imprint Futura Sol, it bangs from end to end, from Michael Gray's sweet and anxious "The Weekend" to Junior Jack's aggressive remix of Kings of Tomorrow's "Thru." He blends in recent burners such as Nic Fanciulli's metallic remix of Deepsky's "Talks Like a Stranger" and Mohito's "Slip Away (Steve Angelo dub)," which appealingly loops the chorus from Howard Jones's "I Want to Get to Know You Well." Throughout, Rudnick spins real house, not the trance and tribal crap most big club DJs around here try to pass off as house. But he never loses sight of the dance floor, keeping it soulful and percussive without getting too deep.