The overall feel of DAT:MUSIC II is moody. Subtle, minor key rollers feature one after another and, on first listen, it feels like a featureless affair. But further listens are rewarding: Details emerge as the simple but subtle grooves get under your skin. Moreover the compilation begins to make sense as a cohesive whole. A multitude of influences and sample sources are brought together, themes are drawn out and a narrative thread is sketched, a feature often missing from compilations of this sort.
That's not to say that there aren't dance floor tunes about. Kiat and SPY's "Close Encounters" is an epic big bass line tearer, and "Monarch" by Zero T and Mosus fits into the same category with horns that ring out like a call to battle for some ancient barbarian horde. Commix's "Underwater Scene" and Marcus Intalex's "Astro Dance" fervent minimalism is likely to get a crowd or two into gear and the same goes for "Cold Front" by St. Files and Instra:Mental's "Hunter," both bangers reminiscent of prime-era Metalheadz.
The breaks, beats and bass are often broken up by lighter, more intricate tracks though. "Newport" by French newcomer Naibu, "JW On a Good Night" by Dutch dubstep darling Martyn and "Shady Pastimes" by Lynx & Hellrazor come off like new takes on the jazz & bass sound of yesteryear, with double bass lines and piano licks blending meticulously with synth pads and breaks. And the monotonous chant of Calibre's "Can't Get Over You" and lustful singing in dBridge's "On Your Mind" are utilisations of vocals that seem new and fresh to drum & bass. Newcomer Chris Coda also deserves special mention for his two stripped-to-the-bone electro-tinged tracks.
Suffice to say, the Manchester-based label has unearthed a host of talent with this release and gotten a few gems from more prominent producers as well. The result is a compilation that deserves notice both within the drum & bass scene and in the wider world.
Thu / 22 Jan 2009
01. Naibu - Newport
02. S.P.Y. vs. Kiat - Close Encounters
03. Lynx vs. Hellrazor - Shady Pastimes
04. Lomax - Resist
05. Instra:mental - Hunter
06. S.T. Files - Cold Front
07. S.P.Y. - Monochrome
08. Marcus Intalex - Electrocution
09. Zero T & Mosus - Monarch
10. Marcus Intalex - Skizm
11. S.P.Y. & Mosus - Cold 909's
01. Marcus Intalex - Astro Dance
02. Calibre - Can't Get Over You
03. D-Bridge - On Your Mind
04. Lomax - Too Real
05. Chris Coda - U142
06. Commix - Life We Live
07. Marcus Intalex & S.T. Files - Sark
08. Commix - Underwater Scene
09. Chris Coda - Heading North
10. Martyn - J.W. On A Good Night
11. S.T. Files - Moods