Various Artists

Shadow: Hard Sessions, Vol. 2

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The second installment in the Shadow label's Hard Sessions series follows very much in the footsteps of the first, delivering a solid hour's worth of hard-step, dark-step, and jump-up drum'n'bass by top-notch artists at a budget price ($7.98 list). The program opens and closes with contributions from Hanna, pride of the Midwest, whose "Aftermath" is remixed by the British producer Decoder. In between his two tracks are previously unreleased pieces by Forensic (the dark and jittery "Demented Flows," which features fine rapping from MC Plague) and Carew Type-S (whose "Rabid" combines a hyperkinetic breakbeat with an old-school jungle bassline and quietly ominous chord washes), as well as a double handful of previously released gems from the likes of Icarus and Illform (the latter's "Hypnotic Poison" is presented in a remix by Technical Itch) and a very cool slice of hard-step from an upcoming album by Magnetic (aka James Hardway). Just the thing for those mornings when you need a little extra pick-me-up, or for those late nights when you really want to make your neighbors angry.

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