Over the course of the past decade or so, Soul Jazz Records have gradually become one of the more venerable ones around, releasing not only slews of great singles, but some of the best obscure and otherwise compilations around, not only dipping into great music of the past, but keeping astride of current musical trends as well. It should come as no surprise then, that their first compilation of dubstep absolutely cranks. Yes, other people have put out compilations of dubstep music, but Soul Jazz have gathered all the heavy hitters here, and just in case that wasn't enticing enough all the tracks are exclusive to this release.
Although favorites Digital Mystikz are featured twice on the release and kick things off, the first real crusher on the compilation is "The Light" by Sub Version, featuring Paul St. Hilaire (aka Tikiman). The track itself is insanely swarming, with two layers of massive bass swerving over the top of one another while choppy beats rattle around it all. Hilaire's vocals are mixed in-your-face hot at times, turning the track into an aggressive feast of sound. Skream contributes two new tracks as well, and both of them are stunning, with the excellent "Sub Island" dropping some cracking beats and bassbin-destroying low-end that nicely offset delayed piano and melodica lines.
Kode 9 comes haunting with a typically great cut that juxtaposes sparse, but dense droning sections with crushing and relentlessly-building moments that keep the tension high. For many, one of the first tracks that they skip to on the release is the new cut from Burial and it doesn't disappoint at all, rushing forward with a speedier, almost two step rhythm and pitched female vocals that push the track into a slightly more airy territory that's exciting given the largely claustrophobic debut from the artist.
Other than the aforementioned artists, the compilation also contains tracks by King Midas Sound, Tayo Meets Acid Rockers Uptown, and a couple outstanding cuts from Scuba that growl with heart-murmuring slabs of modulated bass and a slew of great effects that help set it apart. In many ways, this is the sort of dubstep release that's good for everyone. Because the tracks are exclusive (and great to outstanding in terms of quality), fans of the genre in general are going to want to go ahead and get this one right away, but it also makes a great introduction to those who are wondering where to dive in.