House heads listen up – Loveslap are doin’ the damn thang! In recent years they’ve been responsible for representin’ lovely the west coast sound, with some deep and soulful house releases such as their Loveslapped compilations mixed by the likes of Julius Papp, Jay-J, and David Harness. Said Harness kicks off their new Hearbeat series, laying down some chunky, groovy and deep house tracks to kick your new year off to a good start. Heartbeat Vol. 1 had me smiling from the blazing opener; the slinkily funky “Gimme That Music” featuring the husky vocals of renaissance woman, Lady Alma with whom the Gilles Peterson set will be well familiar – she has leant her vocals to tracks by 4hero, King Britt and Ursula Rucker amongst others. “Don’t U Worry” is a similarly bangin’ and funky jam that continues to build up the momentum of the first part of the disc.

Harness displays versatility in his selections, moving from the energetic opening to the more percussion-heavy sounds of DJ Spinna’s rework of Goapele’s “Closer”, breaking things down in the middle with the broken beat style soul of Fertile Ground. He then builds the atmosphere up again with a deeper, more garage-y selection of tracks such as Beady Belle’s “Hindsight” to round out the compilation. One such highlight is Spencer Gray’s “Pillow Talk” featuring Heather Johnson lovin’ up the track proper-style with her seductive vocals. Blaze’s gospel-tinged, uplifting “Found Love” closes out the mix leaving warm fuzzies and beatific smiles all around.

Hopefully the Loveslap crew will be holding the mantra “start as you mean to go on” close to their heart – if so, we’re in for a good year y’all. Heartbeat Vol. 1 should be one of your first purchases of 2005.