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Various – Worth The Weight (Bristol Dubstep Classics) review

Once again affirming Bristol’s significant presence and enduring credibility in the ever-expanding global phenomena that is dubstep, this compilation marks another significant chapter in the genre’s narrative history. Brought to you on Peverelist’s Punch Drunk imprint, the album is split across two CDs and celebrates the past five years of music from the city. The first disc is predominantly made up of work from the older heads – Pinch, Peverelist, RSD, Headhunter, Gatekeeper, Komonazmuk, Forsaken and Appleblim – whereas the second disc marks the achievement of the new wave of artists – purple wow trio Joker, Gemmy and Guido, Wedge, Shadz, Hyetal as well as a couple of tracks from RSD’s other alias Smith & Mighty and HENCH founder Jakes.

The first disc kicks off with Pinch’s “Midnight Oil”, in which swathes of instrumentals weave around a dark, oleaginous bassline, setting the tone for the compilation before we move through such highlights as Gatekeeper’s creepy, sci-fi bleeping “Tense Past”, Appleblim’s  “Vansan”, the delicate, dancing melody of Peverelist’s “Roll With The Punches” to the tribal utterances of ’06 Planet Mu hit “Qawwali” around the midway point. Headhunter’s “7th Curse” is a stand out from the second half as is Komanazmuk’s recent release on Apple Pips, “Bad Apple” and RSD’s superb “Pretty Bright Light”. Disc two sees the aforementioned RSD make another appearance, this time under the legendary Smith & Mighty moniker with “B Line Fi Blo” – a track which, originally released in ’02, was re-mastered and re-released on Punch Drunk’s sub label Unearthed earlier this year.

From here, we are taken on a tour of contemporary Bristol through the synth-heavy sounds of Joker’s “Holly Brook Park” and “Stuck In The System”, Guido’s gorgeous, jazz-infused “Mad Sax” and “Orchestral Lab” (both taken from his debut album Anidea, which was released on Punch Drunk in May). Jakes’ obnoxiously bruising bass heavy riddim “3KOut” rears its head, but it’s the glorious Rustie-style technicolour “Pixel Rainbow Sequence” from Hyetal which concludes the album with a final flourish. This essential album of 2010 brings together some of dubstep’s defining moments and it has most definitely been worth the weight.

Belinda Rowse