Earl Grey mixes and blends 10 cuts from label stalwarts like Shivaxi, Quentin Hiatus and many more
Plush Recordings have long been one of this reviewer's favourite D&B labels. But if you've yet to discover the delights of the Denver/London stable, then this label compilation, which also just happens to be their 100th release, provides the perfect opportunity to get yourself acquainted!
Plush have always tended to eschew big, gnarly, festival/stadium-style D&B, skipping merrily back and forth instead between deep, dark minimal/half-time vibes and smoother, more melodic liquid funk. It's the former style that dominates the first two-thirds or so of this comp, as mixmeister Earl Grey opens proceedings with his own sparse, twitchy and frenetic Malfeasance, which leads into the even sparser Velvet Punch from Debrief, a concoction of frantic breaks, cut-up funk vox and bowel-bothering bass drops that could've winged straight in from 1994. The pace then picks up a little on Javano's vaguely disquieting Precipitation, which is followed by Shivaxi's excellent Resistance with its simple, fierce breaks and absolutely monstrous bottom-end.
Next up, Chill Collective's XTC and Black Opps' menacing Stalker maintain the deep n' dark mood, before we start moving towards liquid territory with Molekular's If You Say So, a pacey lil' stepper topped with 8-bit sounds. The album then draws towards a close with B:Fuse's Station 31 (redolent of early Hospital output) and Quentin Hiatus's energetic, classically-tinged Time Nest, before Thomas B's Psychedelic Reality plays us out on a suitably trippy, half-time note.
All told, it's something of a headnodders' delight, and an album that'll repay repeated listening. Here's to the next 100.
Words: Russell Deeks
Release date: 21 March
Review Score: 9