Album Review: Urban By Nature, Vol 2. By Claude Challe and Ravin.

10297551_849299648414264_4967213833285412863_nHotel-inspired albums show no signs of being out of Vogue, at least not anywhere soon. And indeed, famous hotel chains commissioning compilations to iconic DJ’s can result in memorable albums.

Amongst the top-class hotels having their own DJ-designed sound, the Sofitel chain of Luxury hotels now has a second volume to join the first edition on Urban By Nature.

Back in 2011, the first double-disc edition fully compiled by DJ Ravin was inspired by both their Mauritius and Bangkok sites. For this second edition, Ravin has joined forces with fellow DJ-Extraordinaire Claude Challe to produce this second edition of Urban by Nature, also in a double-disc delivery, now dedicated to their sites in Marrakech and Singapore.

It is not just another volume that extends the Urban by Nature series, but there’s a special significance to it. This work has seen Claude Challe and Ravin, two hugely iconic DJ’s joining forces to create an album since their joint delivery of the first ever edition of Nirvana Lounge back in 2000 (save the math… that’s 14 years!).

And so, here we have a compilation of two top-notch musical minds, delivering a great selection of (mostly) chillout/downtempo and loungy tunes, able to successfully grace the atmosphere of a world-class hotel, and far more.

The first disc, “Sofitel Marrakech Lounge and Spa” by Ravin is a smooth-flowing, sophisticated mix of tunes, that display a variety of musical moods throughout the 13-track set. Starting with the smooth French-sung vocals from ‘Hausch’, by Adnhim, which evoke a sophisticated haute-class vibe, the chill-factor takes a greater note with ‘Too Far (Kundalini Mix)’ by Second Sky, a chill-inducing track than brings such a relaxing vibe into the set. Yet, relaxing is far from the only thing present; the vocals, piano and strings in ‘Roots’ by PNFA are simply beautiful, Pink Martini’s Persian track ‘Omdie Zendegani’ bring a whole different feel into the set; so does the Indian-flavoured ‘Ashram’ by Discey. The tango-infused beats of ‘No Man’s Land (Original Mix)’ by Riva Starr are intense and full of personality. In short, throughout superbly mixed and varied on its sound. A great listen.

The second disc, titled “Sofitel So Singapore” by Claude Challe is also a top-notch work. Taking off with the moody vibes of ‘Love Song 28’ by Jullian Gomes, the rest of the set has a bit more of an upbeat approach, yet still being consistent with the compilations’ dominant style, on which Mr. Challe’s mixing skills shine throughout. The signature mix of drums and instrumentation of ‘Cirrus’ by Bonobo gives a unique sound that stands out from the rest, then fabulously mixed with Jeremy K.’s ‘Street Car Haze’, a lively piece with percussions of a more dance-inviting rhythm. Similarly, the African-inspired ‘Masibambaneni’, a gorgeous uplifting song, is one of the stellar inclusions on the set for sure. At last (but not least) “We All Are Dancing” seals the deal for a greatly-compiled 13-track disc that perfectly goes along with the overall Urban By Nature musical concept.

It can easily be said that this is a must-have album for fans of both Claude Challe and Ravin, and as with a great work of music, it will be enjoyed by fans of these musical styles and surely Sofitel guests alike.

If hotel-inspired albums will indeed keep coming with such great results, the fact that this trend shows no signs of fading means definitely good news!

Recommended tracks:

Disc 1) Too Far (Kundalini Mix), Ashram, No Man’s Land (Original Mix).

Disc 2) The Perfect Blues (Jacques Greene Remix), Streetcar Haze, Masimbambaeni (Feat. Buckz).


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