Various Artists

In Dub Daze

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Critics have been understandably harsh in their assessments of the three haphazard On-U Sound System compilations released in the mid-'90s by the Cleopatra label (the others are titled A Party of Dubbers and Toasters and Dub Xperience: The Dread Operators). Actually, there is plenty of gold to be found mixed in with the carelessly thrown-together dross of these three albums; in the case of this one, though, the ratio of gold to dross is a bit too low. For gold you have several fine instrumental tracks by Playgroup, including the eerily beautiful "Epic Sound Battle," as well as fine entries from Creation Rebel with New Age Steppers ("Painstaker") and Singers & Players (the brilliant "Alla la Dreadlocks Soldier," presented here in its full-length glory). For dross you have no fewer than four tracks by the consistently unlistenable Voice of Authority. For all its weaknesses, though, this album will be understandably sought out by adherents of the chronically dissatisfied On-U Sound System cult in the U.S. (who would do best to purchase it as a component CD in the On-U Sound Box, which also includes the other two compilations mentioned above).

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