Various Artists

The Sound of Dubstep 2

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As the dubstep scene continues to slowly cross-over to the mainstream, this Ministry of Sound compilation is the dance label giant's second to focus solely on the wobbling basslines, minimal rhythms, and soulful vocals of the South East London-originated sound. The two-CD, 44-track collection not only features pioneers like Skream ("Midnight Request Line"), Benga ("Night"), and Digital Mystikz ("Miracles") and breakthrough artists such as super-group Magnetic Man ("I Need Air," the first pure dubstep Top Ten hit), Nero ("Innocence"), and Flux Pavilion ("Lines in Wax"), but also underground acts just waiting to be discovered like Borgore ("Love"), Fused Forces ("K-Hole"), and Little Jinder ("Youth Blood"), alongside remixes from groundbreaking DJs including Adam F, Rusko, and Burial. Keen to show that they're at the cutting edge of dance music, there are also official reworkings of chart hits from less obvious dubstep purveyors, such as True Tiger's remix of retro-soul eccentric Paloma Faith's orchestral ballad "Smoke and Mirrors," Thunderskank's drum'n'bass-inspired treatment of dancehall vocalist Gyptian's "Hold You," and Bar 9's robotic interpretation of Example's techno love-in "Kickstarts." In a nod to the sound's obvious influences, there are also a few blasts from the past, with jungle artist U.K. Apachi's 1995 "Original Nuttah" given a make-over by Tek-One and early 2000s two-step garage outfit DJ Luck and MC Neat's "A Little Bit of Luck" remixed by D1. But it's the more contemporary tunes, such as the Friction Edit of Wretch 32's "Trakktor," Rusko's remix of Sub Focus' "Splash," and Loefah's Busta Rhymes-sampling "Disko Rekah" that provide the album's highlights. The Sound of Dubstep, Vol. 2 is likely to be a little too left-field for those whose only exposure to the genre has been through Radio 1-friendly hits from Katy B, Chase & Status, and James Blake, none of whom appear here. But as a club-centric snapshot of the ever-growing scene, it's a pretty essential listen.

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