Various Artists

Wreck This Mess: Remission, Vol. 2

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Wreck This Mess is an excellent collection of progressive and experimental dub, the kind that retains its clear debt to old-school reggae while adding sampling technology and various modern studio effects to expand the tradition. Invariably, the sound is bass heavy and often depends on minor keys and eerie samples, but the rhythmic patterns vary from funky breakbeats and thumping house beats to one-drop and rockers (those who complain that this stuff all sounds the same are simply not listening). Nor is all of the variety rhythmic: on "Book of the Great Awakening," Spectre alternates snippets of sitar with strange orchestral samples; Holon's "Check" combines hyperkinetic breakbeats with languorous reggae basslines in the best jungle tradition; Japan's Audio Active, on loan from the On-U Sound stable, delivers electro-rockers with a relaxed but slightly creepy flavor on "Wanna-na Dub"; while DJ Spooky ranges farthest afield from the dub tradition with "Conduit 23," an exercise in arrhythmic ambience. You could treat this all as mood music and it would work, but it also rewards close listening. Highly recommended.

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