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Review: Swollen Members Monster in the Closet

Label: Battle Axe

Rocksteady affiliates Swollen Members side-stepped the spotlight by moving to Canada and deciding to go with their own label. Yet, they still ended up the hottest MCs in the land of white tanks. Now the members are set to trample the US with this collection of singles, rare tracks and B-sides. Retrospective albums are usually wildly uneven, but these songs just move. A few of the R&B numbers on here aren't my cup of tea, but the collaborations with DJ Vadim and Nelly Furtado are refreshing breaks in the harsh world of the Members' paramilitary dreams. Read more » 

Review: Moving Fusion Start of Something

Label: Ram

Ram Recordings protégés Moving Fusion have done well carving their own little niche on the d & b scene. An album, of course, is usually the real test of a producer's capability, though with the era of "concept" drum & bass LPs pretty much over (thank god), artists are more likely to come up with a collection of twelves than anything overly sprawling. Start Of Something is exactly that-a series of tight, bass-quaking rollers that range from full-on terror banquets to steel-drum feasts and Latino mini-snacks. Accomplished and straight to the point. Read more » 

Review: Freedom Soundz People's Beat

Label: People

Rolling used to describe a type of drum & bass record that just, well, flowed smoothly despite the hyperactive pace. That style has found its way into broken beat via records like this. "People's Beat" collects bongo loops, scattered snares, analog synths and diving bass licks, arranged in a linear yet hypnotic instrumental groove. "People's Dub" on the flip is West London doing Metro Area's late-'80s electro house their way. 'Tis Read more » 

Review: Total Science/Bulletproof Simple Man/110 Degrees

Label: Industry

Props to Total Science for striking out in new directions, but Simple Man's meaty, growling one-two step just doesn't get me hot and bothered. New Zealand duo Bulletproof turns out some quality tech stuff on the flip, eking out a tightly wound tronik roller with epic touches in a Bad Company vein. Read more » 

Review: Various Artists Creepy Remixes

Label: Volta

Creepy, a gothic-minded indie hip-hop-soul tune by a group called Emaculate D'ception, gets three diverse San Francisco re-rubs. Drum & bass stars Westside Chemical and UFO! bring a slow, well-constructed ether-beat mix; de Giere gives it a funky digital shredding; and Drunkin Unkelz swing expert Wu-Tang-ish paranoia-hop. A very promising debut from the Volta Read more » 

Review: Various Artists The ObliqSound Remixes

Label: ObliqSound

ObliqSound's got this patently predictable thing going on-collecting erstwhile world music or adult contemporary/jazz artists together on a single label under the premise of crafting a no "genres" vibe-and it's mildly interesting. Only mildly more interesting is this soup-sandwich remix project based on The ObliqSound Sampler, where Chris Brann of Ananda Project and Wamdue Kids fame, Grand Central funk popsters Riton, and less-notable names put their tweak on the original material (Aw Heath, don't you think at least Wai Wan's afrofuturist mix of Flugelschlag passes muster?-Ed). Read more » 

Review: Various Artists Fear001ep

Label: The Fear

On the A-side fo this first from Dublin's Fear label, Deasy presents "Haul," all sweet synth tones and shifting machine rhythms touching a bit on Squarepusher territory. On the flip, Droid + Slug's quietly spastic and quick "Polyp" gets a slightly Kraftwerkian funk remix by the DJ duo Ambulance. Very promising stuff. Read more » 

Review: Outlaw Breaks Feat. Gemma Fox & Sweetie Irie Dutty

Label: Left

One of the best of the current crop of ragga chat tunes. A hyper-catchy tweak-bass melody underpins sweet scat from new talent Gemma Fox and vocal stabs from stalwart Sweetie Irie. "You say we're heavy/you say we're rough and tough but dem nah ready," sings Fox. No shit. Dutty beats + dutty bass = 100% dutty dancing. Read more » 

Review: Cyborg 1 Shockwave

Label: Invader

Only need a guess or two as to Cyborg's identity, but this slab isn't anything to die for. Although it features nicely organic beats, the A-side's a touch redundant. And while the flip's "Roughneck" twinges some nerves with its ragga sample and its varied keys, its similarly a bit tracky. Useful, probably, though not decapitating. Read more » 

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