Various Artists

The New Season

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Archive has established its standing as one of the most consistent labels specializing in broken beat productions that emanate primarily from West London. The New Season follows Nubian Mindz' New World Chaos and Domu's Up and Down as the label's third full-length release -- a tall order for any imprint. The compilation actually relies on previously released material, gathering scattered tracks that were previously issued only on vinyl. Somewhat confusingly, this isn't an anthology of the three split-producer New Season 12"s that the label released earlier. Instead, it takes the label's entire discography into consideration and selects from the impressive bank of tracks that's been built up since release one. Though it's somewhat disappointing that neither side of Theo Parrish's one-off 12" is present, the track listing is hard to quibble over, as it surveys some of the finest broken beat of the early 2000s. At its worst, broken beat can be too preoccupied with carrying in the tradition of jazz -- leading a lot of it to be horribly dubbed "future jazz" -- and winds up more retrograde and sterile than anything else. The majority of Archive's releases, on the other hand, tend to be more progressive, using liberal flashes of techno, electro, and drum'n'bass to concoct polyrhythmic dancefloor-friendly tracks. There's hardly a weak moment to be found here, with endless ripples of percussion and searing synth patterns making for music that all but forces you out of your seat. Along with two furious cuts from Colin Lindo's Nubian Mindz, there are bright moments from 4hero's Marc Mac (Nu Era's "Marz 2010"), Vision Inc.'s Alex Attias (Mustang's "Verona"), Bugz in the Attic's Paul "Seiji" Dolby and Orin "Afronaught" Walters (Orange Water's "Love Life"), and Volcov & Paradox (the Domu remix of "No Europe"). As far as label samplers are considered, The New Season is up there with The Chromatic Universe, People Make the World Go Round 3, and The Good Good.

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