"More than just a compilation its a movement bitch!" rings out the (sic'd) tag line from Beat Dimensions MySpace. And, in listening to Beat Dimensions Vol. 2, you're inclined to agree. Dutch beat freaks Cinnaman and Jay Scarlett have collected 20 tracks from the hottest talents in the slumped hip-hop underworld. It's a scene where most tracks clock in at right around the three minute mark, thus making for perfect compilation fodder. Don't like one track? The next one is coming right up, and it most likely has a different mood and approach from the last.
That said, all the contributing artists here generally trade in the kind of low-slung, un-quantized style that has been oozing out of the Rush Hour web store for the past few years. Whereas Vol. 1 brought together beats from Hudson Mohawke, Dimlite, Flying Lotus & Samiyam, Pursuit Grooves and Aardvark in 2007, Vol. 2 highlights a new crop of names like Mono/Poly, Nosaj Thing, Dorian Concept, Danny Breaks, Low Limit, Exile, Fulgeance, Mike Slott and Devonwho.
Three of the best? Mono/Poly's contribution, "Distant Form," is the stylistic centrepiece, with its cloudy, melancholy vibes being pummelled into submission by the impact of the kick drum. Nosaj Thing follows up his emphatic debut album Drift with "FWD," another beat that takes reverb to new levels while keeping the nod factor set to stun. Danny Breaks, meanwhile, returns with the stunning "The Sound" which fuses his abrasive talent for wamping basslines with clever sampling and pure snare drum pressure.
I could go on, but it's best you hear it for yourself. Mary Anne Hobbs' recent Wild Angels compilation follows a similar path, culling some of the best from this new instrumental hip-hop scene. But Beat Dimensions Vol. 2 slightly beats it out as the essential document of the nascent scene due to its depth and breadth. Cinnaman and Jay Scarlett may not have the BBC behind them, but they've done an even better job of tracking down beats from around the world that sound like little else. It's hard to believe there will be a better or more definitive album released in this genre this year.
Buy Various Artists - Beat Dimensions Vol. 2 at
Tracklist: Various Artists - Beat Dimensions Vol. 2 01. Dorian Concept - Be Tween
02. Nosaj Thing - FWD
03. Zo aka La Chauve-Souris - The Peacock Revolution
04. Low Limit - Turf Day
05. Danny Breaks & DJ Adlib - The Sound
06. P.U.D.G.E. - Reign Dancing With…
07. Dizz1 - Konotakosuke Yaro
08. Samiyam - Swamp Tarts
09. Mike Slott - Cadeting
10. Mono/Poly - Distant Form
11. Ras G - Crazy Alien
12. Dimlite - Ravemond's Young Problems
13. Devonwho - Welts
14. Erik L - Soularp Suite Pt. 2
15. Kenlo Craqnuques - ZoÏd
16. Tiago - Babel Fish
17. Dalt Wisney - R2FUX
18. Fulgeance - Haggis
19. Exile - Super Robot
20. Busy - Ecliptic Armilla
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