Various Artists

Mad Decent, Vol. 1

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Mad Decent, Vol. 1 Review

by David Jeffries

Sometimes the planets align and a simple -- maybe even obligatory -- label sampler meets a label roster in their prime. Such is the case with the dryly titled, dryly presented Mad Decent, Vol. 1, a quick and very dirty overview of the loud, stuttering, sample-heavy, and dancehall-loving label founded by DJ/producer Diplo. Here, the big acts get the bookends as Diplo himself offers the opening highlight with the wicked trunk-rumbler “Horsey.” Bringing up the back end is the shockingly normal and still shockingly good reggae number “Keep It Going Louder” from Nina Sky and Diplo with his Major Lazer project. The meat of this Mad Decent sandwich is all over the place when it comes to flavor, but all the tracks share the label’s mash-up/spice-up aesthetic. Kito and Reija Lee offer the sound of a Galaga machine playing dubstep while Bosco Delrey turns out to be a New Jersey kid who enjoys playing impossible Madchester music at breakneck speed. Toy Selectah trades in accordion-based Mexican house music that puts hands in the air, Boy 8-Bit is like your early Depeche Mode vinyl warping in the sun, while Munchi nails the very 2011 sound of Moombahton with his half-speed, simmering stunner. Add the audience-pleasing style of DJ Rusko, Diplo getting ridiculous with Blaqstarr, and South Rakkas Crew introducing rap-rock-reggae-step to the world and Mad Decent, Vol. 1 is a keeper, sure to send all forward-thinking DJs and kinetic electronica fans further into the label’s catalog.

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