Various Artists

Tectonic Plates, Vol. 2

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AllMusic Review by

The Tectonic label was founded in 2004, just in time to become a prime mover in the development of dubstep, of which it remains a leading exponent. This is the label's second two-disc compilation; the first disc consists of previously vinyl-only 12" singles, while the second is a DJ mix featuring both previously released and unreleased tracks. (This review is based on the first disc only; the second was not included in the promo package.) Led by producer and DJ Rob Ellis (aka Pinch), Tectonic here demonstrates a commitment both to deepening dubstep's foundations and expanding its vocabulary: tracks like "Yet" by Martyn (with its quirkily swinging beat) and Benga's unsettled and charmingly soca-inflected "Technocal" both bring unusual elements to the form, while Joker's "Untitled_Rsn" reaffirms the lurching dubstep verities and Pinch and Moving Ninja elaborate on the dark minimalism that is an important hallmark of the style. Elsewhere, artists reach back further, to the dub and reggae elements that have always been part of dubstep's deepest roots: RSD samples Leroy Stewart's relatively obscure roots masterpiece "Step Forward" for his "Forward Youth," and 2562 makes extensive use of time-honored sub techniques on "Greyscale." The final result is dance music that rewards close listening -- never a given with dance music, and always impressive when it happens.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1
6:16
2
4:51
3
5:05
4
5:39
5
3:04
6
4:25
7
6:46
8
6:37
9
5:06
10
4:09 Amazon
11
RSD
5:28 Amazon
12
5:15 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick