April 1998
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Music review: Various artists - V Classics: Volume 1

By Todd McCafferty

10 exclusive new drum & bass tracks featuring DJ Krust, Goldie, Roni Size, Dillinjah, Ray Keith, Lemon D, DJ Die, and DJ Suv. That is what the cover says, but what it can't convey is how important this compilation is. Most of the tracks on here fall into that space between made for dancing and made for listening. You can take Squarepusher or Photek and just sit and listen to them, but try that with Aphrodite or someone like that. You can't, the tracks just don't have anything that would want to make you listen just for the joy of hearing good music. It's like house. You are an idiot if you sit around and buy house compilations to listen to by yourself at home. It is made for the floor, to dance to, to rave to or whatever. But the majority of the tracks on here are complicated enough and varied enough that I listened to the entire thing all the way through and did not get bored with repetition. It is very hard to find this middle ground and it is heartening to see that jungle isn't going to die of stagnancy, which was a big concern of mine. I am sorry, but Adam F does not do it for me; a whole album is just too much. More artists need to follow the lead of New Forms, which was just as important album as any that has came out last year.

Like the title suggests, these are all tracks put out by artists on V Recordings, the Roni Size and Reprazent label, and indeed everyone in the crew in putting out tracks, Krust, Die and Suv. Along with two of my personal favorites Lemon D and Dillinjah (their work on Metalheadz was phenomenal-see When Angels Fell and This is Los Angeles). They majority of the tunes fall under the dark side of jungle, heavy synths and deep bass rumbles. I can even forgive the occasional "diva vocals." Goldie's track, a remix of The Calling, sounds like his alias Rufige Kru and two of the tracks that feature Roni size incorporate some jazz elements, evidenced by the titles It's Jazzy and It's a Jazz Thing. I think it is great to have incorporate jazz, but let's thing of some better titles, there have been some pretty lame ones in the history of jungle (i.e. T-Power - Mutant Jazz, Alex Reece - Jazz Master, and just about everyone - Jazz something or other). I am smart enough to know if you are using jazz sounds, don't beat me over the head. Lemon D's track is typical hyper-produced affair, which is why I like him. I would have to say the stand out track on here is DJ Krust's Maintain. It is a labyrinthine journey that goes from Goldie-ish breaks to almost ambient drones. This is a definite must for all jungle fans and a perfect primer for those that want to get into it, but don't know where to start. High quality.

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