Reviewed by Neil Wells (delta-9.net)
Planet Mu is a label that moves so fast and puts out such a wide range of music that it's hard to get a good handle on what they're doing. The 'Cosmic Forces Of Mu' 2xCD sampler from a couple of years ago gave a good and balanced look at the breadth of the label's output, offering up a few classic and exclusive tunes along the way - but felt a bit sprawling and difficult to handle, veering as it did from whimsical folktronica to nosebleed deathcore in the space of two or three tracks.
This new (and budget-priced - mine cost a mere £3) sampler eschews that tactic almost completely, offering instead a 70-odd min long mixed cruise through the label's output, focussing quite heavily on the junglist/breakcore aspect for which Planet Mu is probably most famous. It kicks off in fine style with a whopping SIX Venetian Snares tracks, starting out with the gentle beatless electric piano of 'Aaron', before the alien electro of 'Keek' kicks in.
The meat of the mix though is the quite astonishing centrepiece that is tracks 10 through 24, starting with Hellfish's 'You don't quit' which simply plonks an old-skool rap atop a frenzied gabba rush to absolutely genius effect. No bullshit, no fuck around, as Bruce Lee might say. Things don't let up either, with Rude-Ass Tinker and another Hellfish tune leading us on to a sumptuous succession of work by Remarc - possibly jungle's finest break-slicer - culled from the 'Sound Murderer' and 'Unreleased Dubs' collections. He may need no introduction, but to those who haven't heard of him, the inclusion of so much classic material in a mix warrants the price of admission alone - superbly chopped amen madness which never for one minute loses sight of the dancefloor. Then we pile through, in short order, a selection of runglecore mentalist Shitmat's tunes, Bizzy B's excellent 'Darkside' and some 2-steppy goodness from Hawerchuk, before touching back down with a selection of edit-heavy ambience to cool us down.
There's a lot of label samplers crowding my shelves, but few of them make it beyond one or two listens. This one is different - by focussing on making a great mix CD first and a label sampler second, label boss Mike Paradinas has provided a much better taste of the spirit of the label than a ragbag of album tracks could have done. Of course, this is at the expense of excluding great swathes of the label's best new output - dubstep wonderboy Mark One and the sublime indietronics of Julian Fane are notable by their absence, but crucially, at its heart this is a record you'll want to listen to, before exploring the rest of the label - not something that'll end up as a beermat after one desultory spin. Recommended.
- Various - The Cosmic Forces Of Mu
- Venetian Snares - Defluxion
- Venetian Snares & Speedranch - Making Orange Things
- Joseph Nothing - Dummy Variations
- Hrvatski - Swarm & Dither
- Mu Allstars - Criminal
- Hellfish & Producer - Constant Mutation (Mixed)
- Leafcutter John - Microcontact
- Nicole Elmer - Beef Bouilion
- Tim Tetlow - Beauty Walks A Razor's Edge
- Phthalocyanine - 25 Tracks Fer 1 Track
- Leafcutter John - Concourse E.E.P.
- Luke Vibert - '95-'99
- Jega - Geometry
- Capitol K - Roadeater E.P.
- Kid Spatula - Full Sunken Breaks
- Jega & Kid Spatula - Unity Gain / Hard Love
- Capitol K - Sounds Of The Empire
- Slag Boom Van Loon - So Soon
- Tusken Raiders - The Motorbike Track
- Slag Boom Van Loon - Slag Boom Van Loon
- Jega - Spectrum
- Horse Opera - 3 Cornered Room
- Capitol K - Island Row