Various Artists

Bass in Your Face: Maximum Drum & Bass

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The frantic funkiness of drum'n'bass -- the club music hybrid that emerged from the British underground when techno met reggae in the mid-1990s -- makes it the perfect remix vehicle. The double-speed breakbeats and muted, thundering basslines can turn even the most familiar pop hit into a weird, faintly menacing piece of abstract dancefloor art. This set presents drum'n'bass remixes of songs by Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott, Aaliyah, even smooth R&B divas En Vogue, among others, and almost all of them are highly successful. Elliott's "The Rain" is a high point, in part because of the surprisingly effective contrast between the 1960s-era Ann Peebles sample on which the song is based and up-to-the-minute remix technology. Bassline Generation's "911 Emergency" starts off with a less-than-promising breakbeat, but then funks things up with complicated sampling and a better than average bassline. Busta Rhymes is about average on "Dangerous (Natural Born Chillers Remix)," but then, his average is most rappers' excellent, and the dub-inflected remix adds significant depth and texture to the original. What's really surprising is how well En Vogue's super-smooth vocal harmonies work in this context; "Whatever" is another album highlight. Overall, this collection will please most drum'n'bass fans, while also providing a safe introduction to the genre for the uninitiated.

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