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Mark Farina 

House of Om (Om Records)

Wednesday, May 16 2007
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To say that San Francisco-based DJ/producer Mark Farina has a worldwide following is no exaggeration. His May itinerary includes gigs from Modesto to Dubai. Enthusiasm for Farina's mixing abilities has been sufficient to support the release of several CD compilations over the past 11 years. But his curator skills are sharpest on his contribution to the House of Om series. The new disc bypasses the sometimes noodly downtempo offerings of his Mushroom Jazz series in favor of a livelier and more driving set of deep house music.

Where the Mushroom Jazz installments occasionally felt collected for armchair listening, House of Om is reflective of the faster tempo Farina favors when he DJs at nightclubs: around 130 beats per minute, a decent workout speed. Songs like Freaks featuring Robert Owens' "Right Now" and Kerri Chandler & Monique Bingham's "In the Morning" are big, expressive tunes comprising little more than steady, jacking beats and soulful vocals. There are no novelty tracks here, but Vibezelect's "Come Chill" is silly fun. The jittery jam about booty and weed provides an uncharacteristically cheeky moment for an otherwise subtle DJ, showing that Farina still maintains an element of surprise after all this time. — Tamara Palmer

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Tamara Palmer

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