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DJ Colette 

Our Day (Nettwerk)

Like that opening crackle of the needle connecting with vinyl, a rhythmic backdrop of rainfall and thunder cues the onset of Colette Marino's latest full-length house collection. But before the metrical thump of bass begins to swell, DJ Colette takes an opportunity to display her operatic chops with a potent a cappella rendition of the disc's title track. It's a soulful expression of vibrato and talent. Clearly, this singer/promoter turned house-record slinger brings more to the turntables than just a good mix and a nice smile. Colette uses her voice as well as any mixer to merge and unify the 12-song blend, boasting a vocal range that far surpasses the limited abilities of ho-hum artists like DJ Rap and Sonique.

After her vocal icebreaker, Colette submits her verbal chi to Synthique's "Splash Wave" -- a jazzy hip-hugger whose gritty bass and keyboards craft a nice springboard for Colette's diva yowls. Similar to her full-length debut In the Sun, Our Day builds off a fine mixture of Chicago-style house from the likes of Smitty & Nick Rapattoni and Colette's boyfriend Angel Alanis, who co-produced the album. Vocally, Colette excels by not spreading herself too thin, doling out her vocals a total of only six times on Our Day. When she puts down the mic, Colette focuses on making the mix work, easily blending the sampled drug homily of Mr. G's "Take-a-Toke" with the air sirens from Gene Farris's "Vegeta."

Unfortunately, not all of Our Day flows as smoothly, as the disc is somewhat sabotaged by its lack of variety. Midstride, Colette's own production work sidetracks the mix into a percussion bore until Prax Paris revives the flavorless muddle with the Chi-town funk of "Under the Shower." But overall, Our Day endures its slow spurts, using Colette's intermittent and powerful vocals to fuse and flesh out a wise selection of house.

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