New York-based Brit, DJ DB, has spent many a year pioneering the drum 'n' bass scene on this side of the Atlantic and, with the recent increase in attention to breakbeat in the States, it looks like he and his fellow pioneers are finally being vindicated.
The Higher Education Drum 'N Bass Sessions is designed to further advance the cause of the music in America by featuring a number of American producers with remixes by some of the established British DJs such as Optical, Grooverider and Konflict. There are also some original tracks here by artists on the Higher Education label like ACEN and Control Freq. If you haven't heard of them, hang on. You probably will soon enough.
Kazimir kicks off proceedings in style with some gut-bustin' bass holding up Carol C's dirty angel vocal track. Things get seriously fuzzy on track three with the Origin Unknown remix of Amar's "Red Sky" pumping up the pace. Karl K's "Synapse" is a sharp-edged injection of synaptic stimulation, but wait for the Konflict remix on track nine for some real frontal lobe overload. The asylum beckons!
Check out Control Freq's "Satellite" as seen through the sequencer of Rob and Dom for a dose of warped hardcore brilliance and, if your brain is still intact at the end, wait for Optical to do some non-intrusive surgery with their mix of trash metal outfit, Static X's "Love Dump."
Sandwiched between these two is the remix by ACEN of the old Eric B & Rakim classic, "I Know You Got Soul" which falls a bit flat and counts as one of the few duff points in this collection. But, after hearing track 10, all is forgiven. ACEN's "Black Dawn" is hardcore drama at its most cinematic, aflame with big bass and a foreboding atmosphere. A must for any DJ who intends playing a set on the moon any time soon. ACEN offer some more buzzed-out noise on "116.7."
Phunkatek treat us to their dirty-raw beats on "Invocacion" and, on "Rollcage," they take on a breakneck ride through some inhospitable sonic nightmares.
Things wind down at the end with E-Z Rollers' "Tough at the Top," which features trip-hoppy vocals on top of some funky flute sounds.
The mixing here by DJ DB is top notch. Tracks blend from one to the next seamlessly and generally things follow a logical progression (or, as the case may be, an illogical progression) that keeps the interest up. There's lots of talent on display here and here's to hoping we'll be seeing the likes of ACEN, Control Freq and Amar coming out from under the shadow of the British scene and establishing a sound all of their own on this side of the pond.