2Step+Future Soul

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At the time 2Step+Future Soul hit the streets in late 2001, there weren't many 2-step mixes available in the States. You could spend a lot of money on Ministry of Sound and Artful Dodger imports -- that was about your only choice. So, it was nice to see a stateside 2-step release, even if it's not all you hope it would be. DJ S.M.L. no doubt offers a representative set of 15 tracks, but you get the sense that he's limiting himself with his track selection. First of all, there aren't that many anthems or big hits on here like you'd expect, considering 2-step's commercial success in the U.K. Sure, you get a mix of Mis-Teeq's "Why," but there aren't too many other recognizable tracks. That wouldn't be so bad if not for the other disappointing aspect of this mix, the level of diversity. Yeah, a myriad different styles of music comprise the core elements of 2-step, but S.M.L. jumps from one style to the next -- first it's drum'n'bass, then dancehall, then dance-pop. This makes the album progress in jarring transitions. Yet, despite these problems, this mix is representative of the evolving 2-step style circa 2001 and is a convenient find for stateside listeners tired of struggling with imports.

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