Saturday, 18 December 2010

Various Artists: Worth The Weight - Bristol Dubstep Classics (Punch Drunk Records)

Like every bass loving resident of Bristol (is there any other kind?), I was gutted to hear that the city's best vinyl shop, Rooted Records, is about to close. It'll be a huge loss to the local scene. Luckily, Rooted's Tom 'Peverelist' Ford is going from strength to strength, and as the head of the fantastic Punch Drunk label he's just released the definitive document of Bristol's bass music scene in the dubstep years. Here's a short review of it I wrote for Venue, and if you ever need to get nostalgic, here's a download link to the great Bristol dubstep documentary 'Living Inside The Speaker', which includes scenes filmed at the shop.

These are vintage years for Bristol bass music, and you won’t find a better overview than 'Worth The Weight'. CD1 mines the thoughtful dubstep we’re known for worldwide, unearthing speakerbox-troubling gems from Appleblim, Headhunter, Jakes and Forsaken. CD2 gives a broader context, drawing a line from the soundsystem skank of Smith & Mighty’s (recently re-issued) classic ‘B-Line Fi Blow’ to the glitchy future garage of Hyetal and Shortstuff.

There’s no filler, but the highlights are Pinch’s scene-defining ‘Qawwali’, Peverelist’s exquisitely poised ‘Roll With The Punches’, and the dizzying MIDI symphonics of Joker’s ‘Stuck In The System’ and Guido’s ‘Orchestral Lab’. For the bass-curious, this is a one-stop education with sleevenotes to match. For committed steppers, it’s a timely recap of a breathlessly evolving scene. It's 100% essential, either way.

Blood Red Sounds rating 9/10

This review originally appeared in Venue.

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