Review : Various Artists - Worth the Weight: Bristol Dubstep Classics
PitchforkThose searching for an easy distillation of the aesthetic of dubstep could do worse than to fix on the name of the epochal label Punch Drunk. There's something in the onomatopoeia of it, and even more in the way it invokes feelings of being hit, slapped, pummeled, giddy, bruised. Imagine getting beaten up a little and drifting into a woozy, dizzy state, with cartoon-like birdies and stars circling overhead: That's the kind of dubstep favored most by Punch Drunk, a label that helped make Bristol, England one of the style's main flashpoint locales.
Worth the Weight: Bristol Dubstep Classics-- a 2xCD set with 26 tracks-- surveys the sound of the city more than Punch Drunk per se. And more power to it. (A call-out in the liner notes even casts Bristol as "dubstep's second city," behind London, as it were.) The sound of Bristol as compiled here tends toward the generally dark and ruff and tumble, as is made clear from the first lurches and stabs of Pinch's "Midnight Oil". A pointed opener, it traffics in what sounds like Pinch's having decided, on a whim, to follow every kick of the bass with the beat of a snare drum placed everywhere it might sound slightly "off," just to see what would happen. Heard the first time, it plays almost like the result of a game. But then it starts to reveal a pattern as it stretches out, a real organizing structure to a new sort of rhythm that proves to be less haphazard than it initially sounds.
That kind of surprise and subsequent rush of new understanding is what makes dubstep, at its best, exciting. And there's a lot of it here, enlisted in different ways by the likes of Peverelist, Appleblim, Headhunter, Joker, Guido, and more. There's much to be gleaned from the difference between Pinch's brutish opening salvo and the second track, Peverelist's "The Grind", which floats and glides in all the places where Pinch trips himself up. And then from there to where Gatekeeper, in "Tense Past", bears down and simply stomps....full text
ElectronicbeatsWith all the future-bass, post-step lazer wobble it could be easy to forget that the dubstep was born as a brutal and uncompromising sound that had as much association with Bristol as London. In fact Punch Drunk Records, the label of bass pioneer Peverelist,has been at the forefront of the scene since it's inception - it was set up to cater for specifically Bristolian artists, and although the 'Bristol sound is as raw an uncompromising as ever, it has still developed, but with different influences. Dub and Bristol's own history of soundsystem culture are the key reference points here
This compilation charts five years in the game for Punch Drunk, and is a timely reminder (as if it was needed) of Bristol's importance as an outpost of uniquely British music. There are almost too many highlights to mention - Peverelist has an envious back catalogue to choose from, and many of the songs have already achieved 'classic' status.
So perhaps not one for the serious heads but for someone who wants to dip there toe in the murky waters there could be few worse places to start. Personal highlights include Smith & Mighty's feel-good 'B Line Fi Blow', the epic 'Get up' by Pinch and the rude boy skank of 'Pretty Bright Lights' by RSD....full text
ResidentadvisorWorth the Weight: Bristol Dubstep Classics may be a Punch Drunk release, but rather than a retrospective of the imprint, Tom Ford, AKA PD label boss Peverelist, has set his sights on the entire Bristol dubstep scene. Comparisons to the recently released Bristol-spanning Multiverse compilation are unavoidable, but where Dark Matter sprawled beyond dubstep, Ford's selection hones in on the very core of what drives the bass-wise meditations of Bristolians and is all the better for it. The compilation is split between one disc of deadly serious monochrome monoliths and another disc exploring the recent melodic and even psychedelic tangents of Bristol dubstep. But the variety on even the first disc's more one-dimensional vibe is tremendous, and Peverelist's sequencing is impeccable. It's not easy to get people excited about tracks that are four and five years old.
But excite he does: the compilation's opening sequence is a relentless assault on whatever structures dare stand in the face of its low-end volleys. The complex percussion programming and spacey atmospherics of tracks like his own "The Grind" and Gatekeeper's "Tense Past" gently roll into each other, culminating with the rousing hymnal of Pinch's "Qawwali." It is the sort of curatorial wizardry that has come to be expected of the fearless experimental label head: Peverelist assimilates a series of entirely insular and singular beats and make them sound as if they belong together. It doubles also a history lesson: alongside established canon classics are lower-profile tracks from Headhunter (the hammer-and-anvil percussion of his very first release, "7th Curse"), Forsaken (whose 2007 "Hypnotised" track predicts the future garage movement two years before its inception) and techno-obsessed Peverelist collaborator Appleblim.
The second disc's vibrant fireworks stand in opposition to the first's subterranean tremors, painting a portrait of a city that's as brilliantly diverse as it is miles deep. In many ways it's even more impressive than the first, a vision stretched across too many styles and influences to be encompassed here. It begins with the proto-dubstep of Smith & Mighty's shuffling "B Line Fi Blo" and travels through Dubboy & Atki2's tropical nightmare "Tigerflower," the drippy histrionics of Hyetal & Shortstuff's "Ice Cream" and the stately regality of Guido's "Orchestral Lab." The latter producer becomes the unexpected star of Worth the Weight, with the ferocious sex-jazz of "Mad Sax" and his alternately jagged and pillowy remix of Wedge and Shadz' "Running Away" showcasing his diverse palette. His purple compatriots are also well represented with the electro-grime of Joker's "Holly Brook Park" and Gemmy's sinewy "Bass Transmitter." The compilation ends with an inspiring morsel of futurism in the form of Hyetal's bitcrushed-R&B weeper "Pixel Rainbow Sequence."...full text
Various Artists Album Reviews
Sweetslyrics Top 20 Artists
Various Artists Lyrics
Would you have