Various Artists

Select Cuts From Blood & Fire

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Modern remix culture can be traced back to the early days of reggae, when economy-minded producers in need of a B-side would use dramatically altered instrumental versions of the A-side -- a practice that came to be called "dub" and became an art form in itself. Some of the greatest reggae producers (King Tubby, Lee "Scratch" Perry, Augustus Pablo) came to be known as much for the creativity and distinctiveness of their dub versions as for the quality of their producing. What better tribute to the old school than a program of modern remixes covering material from that golden period in reggae history? That's exactly what you have here; a generous collection of tracks from such seminal artists as Horace Andy, Yabby You, and I Roy, remixed by a roster of underground club maestros that includes Smith & Mighty, the Orb, Groove Corporation, and the apparently indestructible Stereo MC's. The results are surprisingly consistent (in quality, if not in style). Smith & Mighty turn Yabby You and Big Youth's classic "Conquering Lion" into a nicely rolling and bone-shakingly bass-heavy club groove; Small Axe and Terminal Head collaborate to remix a classic Glen Brown dub version, stripping it down and pumping up the bass; and perhaps best of all, the mysteriously named Avatars of Dub turn King Tubby's "Bag a Wire" into a jazzy drum'n'bass excursion. This album is aimed more at grooveheads than reggae purists, but should appeal greatly to reggae fans with adventurous tastes.

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