Brooklyn-based label toucan sounds’ latest project, Playground Compilation Vol. 3, is a staggering, 17-track compilation featuring some of the most exciting new names in the New York electronic underground. Mostly recorded out of toucan sound’s Brooklyn studio, You Too Can Woo, this compilation sees both newcomers to the label, like John Barera, Laenz, Matt Fx, Escaflowne, and regulars such as Haruka Salt, Shifting Gears, musclecars, and Toribio, bringing the heat and carrying the torch for New York dance music. The result is a kaleidoscopic portrait of the city’s vibrant underground dance community.
Kicking the project off is first-time toucan sounds guest, fleet.dreams, with his anthemic, melodic slice of tropical house, “Can’t Stop the Momentum”. The song serves as a fitting introduction to this massive compilation, with the main ear-worm refrain, “This is how we do it from the Brooklyn side”, serving as a kind of rallying cry for the rest of the tracks that follow. Everything about this opening track is energetic, unabashed, jubilant, and just damn fun. Its spunky attitude and brash confidence feel very akin to the spirit of the city itself. The track is replete with bongos, handclaps, truncated synths, an undeniably funky bassline, and layered ‘80s-sounding vocal samples which feel like they could have been ripped straight out of a long-lost Run DMC hidden gem.
The effect here is a kind of filtering of New York music culture– namely the golden age of hip-hop and funk– into ecstasy-inducing modern dance music. This song is a great opening and encapsulation of the unbridled energy which each of the other tracks on this compilation build upon and harness to their own unique and delightful ends.