Various Artists

Blunted, Vol. 3

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America's top purveyor of dark, dreamy, down-tempo electronica really hit the sweet spot with the first two Blunted compilations, so a third volume comes as no surprise. Once again, the collection includes album tracks by established Shadow artists (Mujaji, Merkin Dream, and Saru), as well as previously unreleased contributions by such relatively obscure names as Bitstream Dream and Futique. Though all tracks share a generally dark and trippy ambience, the stylistic range in evidence here is actually fairly broad, from the virtuosic turntablism and casually funky beats of Fugitive Elf's "Creepy Place" to the eerie horn-and-harmonica flavors of Mujaji's "Jihad (Continued)" and Travel Ensemble's charming Spiderman tribute, "Spider Sense." Blend brings a South Asian influence on the tabla-driven "Interghazal," but best of all is Merkin Dream's very consciously reggae-inflected "14 Barnes Dub Explosion," with its swinging beatbox rhythm and dub-wise bassline. Highly recommended.

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