When the first Mosaic hit in 2011, it was a climax of sorts for the Autonomic sound—a drum & bass style pioneered by dBridge and Instra:mental with a sense of space and and melody borrowed from Detroit techno. Shortly thereafter, Autonomic began to fell into the backround, no longer a buzzword or even a style that many were interested in sticking to. Still, Exit Records took the renewed interest in drum & bass as an opportunity to release the bravest music of its career. Mosaic Vol. 2 arrives two years later as a mammoth triple-LP. It's less a survey of a sound than a wider statement of the genre as a whole—and it's full of promise.
Spread over three LPs and a four-track sampler, Vol. 2 is as long as its predecessor but split up into more digestible chunks. Each disc showcases remarkable diversity over eight tracks. Instead of the all-star cross-genre route, this one sticks closer to home. Stalwarts like Dub Phizix, Loxy & Resound and Joe Seven all have solid turns, while Rockwell and Fracture further explore their experiments in hip-hop fusion—the former's techstep funk on "*)*" is especially satisfying.
There are a few unexpected moments. Machinedrum shows up with atmospheric jungle on "The Palace," and there are two curiosities in the form of older tracks from Instra:mental and Jon Convex's original Kid Drama alias—though neither adds anything too substantial to their legacies. Dubstep leading lights J:Kenzo and Kryptic Minds both find ways to bring their cavernous dungeon sound up to a higher tempo. Wheel & Deal's Kutz handles his transition differently—"The Bridge" struts along with synths that sound like they were borrowed from an Above & Beyond breakdown. There are also moves away from the established drum & bass framework, including little bits of angular beat music from Steve Spacek and newcomer Elec, whose "Want You To Know" is like a cross between Flying Lotus and Synkro.
The latter producer offers up the typically elegiac "The Way," and he's one of the few to colour inside the lines of Autonomic these days. THY LVE, Beastie Respond and CMX also provide solid updates on Exit's reverb-heavy melancholy without treading water, proving there's life left in it yet. And then, of course, there's the boss man himself, who gets two of his own spotlights—the dBridge-by-numbers "Now Known" and, more interestingly, "My Night Sky," which represents the same move back into forceful territory he showed on R&S. It's that approach that best reflects what Mosaic is doing its second time around. Lacking the defined scope and regal sound palette of the first edition, it might not be as breathtaking. But as an overview of an ever-mutating and all-inclusive scene, it puts Exit Records at the forefront of what bass music has to offer.
Buy Various - Mosaic Vol.2 at
Tracklist: Various - Mosaic Vol.201. Skeptical - Eyes Down
02. Synkro - The Way
03. St Files - Eric Bristow
04. Instra:mental - Fist Level 2B
05. J:Kenzo - One Drop
06. Kryptic Minds - Burnt To Ashes
07. CMX - Tesserae feat. dBridge
08. Machinedrum - The Palace
09. Ruffhouse - Greyscale
10. Om Unit & Sam Binga - Triffidz
11. Kid Drama - One 6 Eight
12. Loxy Resound - Residual Movement
13. Dub Phizix - Yukon
14. System - Soundman
15. dBridge - Not Known
16. Elek - Want you to Know
17. Rockwell - *)* 
18. Kutz - The Bridge
19. Beastie Respond - One More Second
20. THY LVE - What We Promise
21. dBridge - My Night Sky
22. Joe Seven - Juiced
23. Fracture ft Dawn Day Night - Sick Wid I
24. Consequence & FIS - Cultural Trauma
25. Clarity - Constant
26. Dan Habarnam - Sistem Nelimitat
27. Stray - LA Zoom
28. Blackpocket - After Beris