Scratch Perverts - Beatdown

Paul Cook 23/06/2009

Rating: 3.5/5

Living in and around Norwich, a city known for its vast dubstep and drum 'n' bass scene, has led to my appreciation of the genre in recent years. Thus it makes reviewing this 37-track compilation of heavy, thundering dubstep and rapid drum 'n' bass tracks rather straightforward. First and foremost if you're not already a fan, then of course this connoisseur's mix of material won't be your thing, but for those that enjoy the genre or those that would appreciate an introduction to it this is a compilation aimed precisely at both.

Scratch Perverts are the renowned collective trio of DJs and MCs Tony Vegas, Prime Cuts and Plus One with a reputation for delivering diverse, surprising mixtures of genres in each and every live set. Beatdown is a ready-made set of 37 of the best tracks and sounds in the business. The mix flows in and out of the 2-3 minute tasters of everything from the low, diving reverberations of dubstep masters Caspa, Benga, Skream and Radio1 favourite Kissy Sell Out to the 160+bpm drum n bass stylings of Chase and Status, Logistics and Lomax.

Everything in between is an experimental concoction of the two incorporating breaks, electronica, grime and hip hop. Jack Beats offers some of the best remixes of the material with his distinctively playful style of sounds and samples. The compilation also showcases some of the lesser known talent in and amongst the dubstep scene, including boy 8-bit and AC Slater whose deep, bass tones and minimalist production make for a refreshing interlude in a somewhat chaotic genre.

The strongest material on the album is still that offered by the now-legendary dubstep labels Tempa and SubSoldiers with Benga's Stop Watching and Skream's Aggy Face remaining the standout tracks. Jack Beats' inspired reworking of Kissy Sell Out's This Kiss also stands out as one of the more light-hearted and infectiously catchy rhythm's on offer.

Beatdown is one of the first dubstep/drum 'n' bass compilations to feature real character and consistency, gradually ramping up in volume and tempo as it shifts smoothly between the darker, 2-step rhythms of dubstep to the jumpy, excitable remixes and chaotic, high tempo drum 'n' bass material near the end. It isn't without its faults, casually sidestepping some of the very best material that isn't from the preferred music labels. For instance the work of the Zane Lowe-tipped SubFocus would provide added depth to the rather minimal offering of drum 'n' bass material and choices of tracks from dubstep heavyweight Caspa in no way display the quality of work available.

For fans of the genre however it's another diverse mixture of tracks that the Fabriclive series of albums is known for and for strangers to the genre it might be a wake up call to the exciting, ever growing world of dubstep.

Beatdown is available on Fabric Records from Monday 22nd June.