• Various - Amµnition

    Reviewed by JB (logarhythm)

    Various - Amµnition

    Hard to believe that the Planet Mu label is about to enter triple figures: in preparation for this rite of passage, label boss Mike Paradinas (U-Ziq) has mixed together 34 tracks from the Planet Mu stable showcasing some of their most recent and forthcoming releases. While these enterprises can often end up as sterile exercises in retrospection and/or self congratulation, this one goes for the jugular. Retro-futurist rave dynamics in abundance: mentasm stabs, amen breaks, ragga jungle, hyperactive gabber and staccato splinter-snare rushes.

    Venetian Snares opens the proceedings with his trademark neurotic death funk. 'Epstein-Horshack-Lids' and 'Einstein-Rosen Bridge' feature here, sounding like some unholy mutation of Earth Wind and Fire and PCP DoomCore, performing as house-band on Blakes Seven.

    Brighton's Chevron lowers the tempo but keeps up the intensity with some liquified distorto-electro track. The Gasman and Datach'I both offer some breathing space with their disjointed melodic electronica, Datach'I exploring similar polyrhythmic contortions to Tigerbeat 6's Com.A.

    Hellfish's two tracks 'U Don't Quit' and 'Radical Digital' are punishing slices of hip-hop gabber. The former beginning as a mid-skool dmx beats block-party hip-hop track, before unexpectedly launching into a lethal volley of hyper-compressed gabber kickdrums. 'Radical Digital' tears up Chuck D's 'Rebel Without A Pause' in a volley of DSP effects, 4/4 beats and rave dynamics. Hellfish (and Rude Ass Tinker) somehow manage to reinvent and intensify the cheesily overfamiliar. Unlike the apparently auteurist stance of most electronica and 'post-rave', they seem to revel in the communal libidinal expenditure at the centre of the rave experience (although I doubt they'd put it in those terms.)

    Brighton's Shitmat more self-consciously mashes up vintage jungalist breaks with gabba with yob-core oi! oi! chanting with ragga b-lines and dub fx in a selection of super-dumb jungle-tekkno outings. The attention-deficit disorder glee is completely infectious and its hard not to be totally convinced by its joyful crassness and vulgarity.

    The album also brings together some vintage '94 junglist rinse-outs from Remarc (SE London's don of the amen-break) and prolific old-skool hardcore/jungle producer Bizzy B, with a dark-side jungle track from the vaults of his seminal 'ardcore label 'Brain Records' -- all mesmeric detuned piano vamps and mentasm hoover stabs. Planet Mu has been instrumental in rescuing the work of Remarc from the dusty vaults and the ebay-price-inflation vortex and are set to do the same for Bizzy B's back-catalogue. Here's hoping that Paradinas' reissue programme carries on delving further into the vaults of white-label jungle obscurity.

    As if that wasn’t enough to digest, Paradinas also manages to squeeze in 2 slices of Hawkerchuk's disjointed 2-step gothic-garridge, the speedfreak glitch-pogo of French duo dDamage and the claustrophobic klang of Speedranch^Jansky Noise, before opening out into widescreen electronica territory with tracks from Ambulance, Lexaunculpt and The Gasman.

    By drawing on the collective dynamics of post-rave electronic music, Paradinas seems to have been adept at avoiding the twin scourges of the electronica scene in 2004: noodling, nothing-much-at-stake boho-eclecticism or diminishing-returns pseudo-extremism. This mix has barely been off my CD player since I got it. Here's to another 100 releases from the Planet Mu massive!

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