'Dynamite! Dancehall Style' is yet another great Soul Jazz Records compilation.
A few months ago, I discovered the Barefiles website - a treasure trove of Dubstep and Grime mix tracks, brimming with rough but beautiful diamonds mined from Londons pirate radio stations. Just before I went on a short trip to London in august, I downloaded what must be Barefiles' Koh-I-Noor: a mix track by Kode9 from Mary Anne Hobbs' BBC1 radio programme Breezeblock. It was the perfect soundtrack for the London trip - even though it is perfectly possible to love dubstep even if one doesn't live in South London, dubsteps rhythms rhyme with that city's dynamism better than with that of any other city.
My favorite part of that mix track was 'Dem A Bomb We' - delerious dubstep with sharp-tongued lyrics about the bomb attacks on London's public transport, angry yet elegant, bass-heavy but lightfooted, beautiful. The part in which the female singer paraphrased Gloria Gaynor's ' I will survive' was especially intoxicating for me - transgressing a taboo on disco that still lingers from my industrial roots. I had no idea who had made the track, but I loved it.
Thus, I was pleasantly suprised when I found out that 'Dem A Bomb We' was made by none other than Kevin Martin, whose musical career I have followed since 1994 and who has had a very strong influence on the development of my musical taste. Martin has been active in so many genres one couldn't count them on the fingers of two hands: jazz, industrial, dub, dubstep, ambient, hip hop, illbient, Chain Reaction-style techno and so on. He's been a long-time collaborator with Justin Broadrick, another musical hero of mine. Even though 'Dem A Bomb We' is far removed stylistically from Kevin Martins industrial-strength musical assault, I apparently loved his music even if I didn't know and couldn't have guessed that it was made by him.
'Dem A Bomb We' turned out to be the first single taken from the Soul Jazz Records compilation 'Dynamite! Dancehall Style', the umpteenth high-quality compilation of black music put out by that label (I have 7 of them, not counting this cd; some are double cds). It is a somewhat eclectic collection of dubstep, dancehall reggea and ragga tracks from both the UK and Jamaica, tracing the evolution of dance-oriented reggea from King Tubby's 1984 'Fade Out' to the latest South London cuts by the Digital Mystikz. Having received it in the mail today and listening to it for the second time, I can wholeheartedly recommend it, and I certainly hope that Soul Jazz Records will release some more compilations in this vein. Who knows, they could turn out to be the 'Macro Dub Infections' of the naughties!