Various Artists

21st Century Drum+Bass

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It could easily be argued that drum'n'bass producers such as Ed Rush, Decoder, Substance, and Ram Trilogy had been busy creating the sound of the 21st century -- hyper, paranoid, relentless -- for a good decade before the millennium turned, so the title of this React set shouldn't turn many heads. The music is another story, with Decoder's mixing of 33 tracks over three discs. There's barely time for introductions before the Usual Suspects' "Shrapnel" and Ed Rush's "Gasmask" explode out of the gate, and Bad Company's "4 Days" keeps the energy level up midway through the first disc. The second disc loosens up the set -- slightly -- with an opener that spins Kosheen's housey "Hide U" into a drum'n'bass banger courtesy of Decoder and Substance's remix. The disc soon descends back into the darkness with tracks like Tech Itch's "Stealth," and the DJ Die relentlessly technical remix of Kitachi's "Raise It Up." The third disc finds Decoder glossing on the sound of rave with Acetate's "Genetic Engineering," then wrapping up the set with a few excellent productions he couldn't have left off -- "Fingerprints" by DJ Tee Bee and "Airgun" by Blue. There's little space to move within this claustrophobia-causing set, but that's the way drum'n'bass fans always like it.

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