Rekindling a pact that began some 10 years ago with Belgian label Eskimo, Oslo-based producer Prins Thomas serves up a new indulgent brainchild – his most delicious project to date. Containing, but by no means limited to; funk, electro, house, techno, krautrock, acoustic and world pop elements, Thomas' near-four-hour-marathon mix is hypnotic, bedazzling, but most importantly, insurmountably impressive.
'Paradise Goulash', in full, is initially troublesome to digest due to its sheer length. The curve-balls come thick and fast; vocals, beats, strums, bleeps, squeaks, creaks, wubs and dubs of all nature and orientation are cast into the pan.
Soon after the tentative introduction of wavering strings (Turns' 'Forever More Pt. III'), slick lounge guitar work (Gabor Szabo) and a bombastic drum solo (Brian Bennet Band), mix one (perhaps the most diverse of the collection) is gradually eclipsed by the delicate bass hums and ebbing arpeggios of Aqua Bassino's lush 'Ibiza'. Oddly reminiscent of the "wanted star" triggered instrumental on GTA V, this kind of spacious, unfathomable production glides in and out of the three-part mix in between the more frenetic moments.
Speaking of frenetic, if 'Paradise Goulash' truly is what it's coined on its custard yellow tin, then the acid techno (Robert Hood and Abdulla Rashim) on disc two becomes its fiery paprika-infused kick. The compendium's climax here gambles by departing from beauty and arriving at, the no less thrilling, blistering abrasives. Here's where the ecstasy-induced ravers take control from the unruffled, daydreaming idealists. In Thomas' own words, "Much like a bowl of goulash, not all the ingredients might be to your liking. It is undeniably more rustic roadside tavern than refined dining".
Mix three hosts flashes of this devilment, but mainly winds down using a deep and reflective tone. On a predominantly electronic final portion, the mixtape dissipates honestly with the hearty and rustic acoustic warmth of Kurt Vile's 'Baby's Arms'.
Not only is this arsenal of obscurities as insightful as it is successful in championing the Norwegian's fascination with retro-futurism, the sinuous and astutely developed tracklist is prevented from disintegrating to an indistinguishable slurry of sound and matter. Paradise Goulash boils down to a relatable and nostalgic offering to electronic aficionados and novices alike. In the world of compilations, you'll seriously struggle to stumble across a more inventive or well executed cherry-picked feast this year. Prins Thomas is Michelin standard.
Words: Jordan Foster
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