Various Artists

Crooklyn Dub Consortium, Vol. 3: Escape from N.Y.

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There is no group of people more capable of representing the best of New York's illbient/dub/downtempo scene than the Crooklyn Dub Consortium crew, a loosely configured group of producers, DJs, and musicians all devoted to the cause of "constant elevation through low frequency manipulation." With its third compilation, the Crooklyn Dub Consortium is now more properly known as the Crooklyn Dub Syndicate, and its membership has gone international. Contributors include Sir Positive (Germany), Layng Martine (Seattle), and Holland's Twilight Circus Sound System (whose "Valley Dub" is one of the program's bass-heavy highlights). There are also tracks by the regular Crooklyn suspects, including Slotek, spectre, and the ubiquitous and iniquitous Bill Laswell (who contributes the very heavy "Mystery of Shape Changing"). Although each artist has a unique approach, everything is based on the bass -- the grooves are generally slow and liquid, the beats heavy, ponderous, and as irresistible as an elephant stampede. Several tracks stand out: Blood's "Open the Gate" honors, both in sound and by its title, reggae's old-school, while the Bug's "Proton" is the sound of an electronic void -- a muttering static hiss that implies the presence of human life by its existence, but belies the presence of human life by its emptiness. Cool!

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