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Review: Various Artists Roots of Dub Funk 3

Label: Tanty

The third release from the UK's Dub Funk Association comes across in sort of a dark, Bill Laswell vein, wrapping your brain in hissing echoes while thick basslines punch you in the gut. A range of producers works on the tracks here, including the Version City Rockers, Jah Warrior, Alpha & Omega, and the Dub Funk Association themselves. Nearly every track showcases sparsely grooving drums in the style of King Tubby or Mad Professor, with delays, sliding faders and flighty horns. Don't be misled by the title; this is some very good straight-ahead dub reggae, but it's not really funky. Read more » 

Review: Jon Cutler Turn

Label: Distant Music

Distant Music head honcho Jon Cutler delivers a choice selection of underground house bits that reflect his own affinity for the deep and soulful end of things. With a heavy representation of his own stellar productions, Cutler also gives the nod to artists like Dennis Ferrer, DJ Jorj, Yalopa and Richard Earnshaw, who each contribute their own vision of liquid beauty to the mix. Heavy on the vocals, Cutler touches on all corners of the underground vibe, hypnotizing with tribal beats before resurfacing with anthemic floor-killers, giving equal love to the smooth, the jazzy and the lounge vibe. Read more » 

Review: Various Artists King Jammy's The Rhythm King: 18 Dancehall Classics

Label: Maximum Pressure

King Jammy emerged from King Tubby's tutelage to become the most popular (and prolific) producer of the '80s in Jamaica, largely due to his innovative Casio-fueled style. This compilation brings together eighteen of his hottest hiccupping digital rhythms covered in honey-voiced singing. The grooves on this compilation are more laidback than modern ragga, with performances by Johnny Osbourne, Sugar Minott, Eek-A-Mouse and Horace Andy among others. Though most of the music is strictly based on digi-riddims, Jammy is tops at making electronic beats sound soulful. Read more » 

Review: Various Artists Floorplay 3: House Broken

Label: Play

Keep those dancing shoes in the box-this is the kind of stuff that makes headphones worthwhile. With a smattering of sharp, broken beat tunes buffered by deep, subdued house, Floorplay 3 stays well away from the soporific without coming off as willfully eclectic or clever. Contributions from the likes of Titonton Duvante, the Lazy Boys and Mad Professor fuse together into a multi-faceted, intriguing sonic document rife with stuttered beats, haunting vocals and crisp percussion. An arresting mix like this deserves intent listening-missing a beat on this album would seem almost shameful. Read more » 

Review: Chris Watson Star Switch On

Label: Touch

Unusually, Star Switch On features the sounds of large grouse and goat-herders, nocturnal birds and death-watch beetles. Chris Watson's lead instrument is his tape recorder: a former member of Cabaret Voltaire, Watson now specializes in natural history sound recording for radio, film and TV. Watson has previously released a pair of remarkable, Bjork-feted albums-Stepping Into The Dark and Outside The Circle Of Fire-featuring his untreated wildlife recordings. Read more » 

Review: Various Artists Broklyn Beats 7" Series

Label: Broklyn Beats

It seems NYC hasn't been content to stop at the noisy aggression of El-P's percussion, but instead appears to have befriended Alec Empire and Digital Hardcore based on this collection of dirty, rugged, industrial, chaotic beats. From droney hip-hop to tidbits of driven drum & bass buried beneath a million tons of sonic sludge to head-banging, sample-heavy gabber militancy, Broklyn Beats leaves no rhythm safe, as the likes of I-Sound, DJ /rupture and Rotator deliver enough sonic damage to bring the toughest rave-torn warrior down. Read more » 

Review: Various Artists Breakbeat Science Exercise.01 (Mixed by DJ Dara)

Label: Breakbeat Science

The overwhelming feeling of the first compilation from the Breakbeat Science imprint-which accompanies the store of the same name-is linearity. Whether the sensation of the individual tracks is melodic, pounding, ethereal or trancey, the overall effect is a smoothed-out, techno-influenced roll that would make this an excellent CD for a long drive back home from the rave. Dara mixes the entire thing seamlessly, and the track list features a lot of underrated American artists, including Kaos & Karl K, Datcyde, Abstract and Pieter K. Read more » 

Review: Toxic Girls! Nightmare for (13) Unlucky Boystars

Label: Tsunami Addiction

Is this just some self-indulgent riot grrl manifesto full of shallow, man-eating lyrics over shallower electropunk beats? Read more » 

Review: Veer Lideskape

Label: Source

Despite the glut of click/glitch-house albums emerging from Germany each month, few manage to reveal something unique and enthralling like this debut from Frankfurt's Ole Schulte (a.k.a. Veer). Initial comparisons come from the expansive, dub-drenched minimalism of Luomo and Basic Channel, but with one important distinction: heaps of funk. Old-fashioned funk, not the butchered-sample variety popularized recently by the likes of Akufen (or Todd Edwards, for that matter), but juicy, arms-flailing, waistline-contorting funk. Read more » 

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