This is the second release from the Unit 137 label and its resident producers Hylu and Jago. It combines reggae, dub, club and jungle in a series of five mixes over the basic Anansi rhythm. The opening track, ‘Anansi’, is a vocal version from Nanci Correia with a gentle reggae take on the rhythm, a sleepy kind of melody and an industrial strength bass located so deep as to almost exit the range of human perception. David Boomah’s more assertive vocal version – ‘No Have No Heart’ – follows, the rhythm coming to life as if in support. Kahn’s remix of Nanci Correia’s vocal track makes serious creative inroads into the rhythm, generating a slightly doomy club feel to the initial ‘Anansi’ track, while the Run Tingz Cru remix of the David Boomah version adds a distinct jungle mix to the basic rhythm. The closing ‘Dub’ from the label’s own Sleepy Time Ghost (STG) in one sense brings it all together and in another takes it all apart, with its deconstruction of some of the instrumental elements of each of the mixes, snatches of both Nanci Correia’s and David Boomah’s vocals, and an overall pace that’s fixed somewhere between the slow original rhythm and its jungled-up bigger brother, all rolled into one great big latter-day dub.

Hylu and Jago: Anansi Riddim; Unit 137 label (CD, download, limited edition EP) release 30th July 2012

Wayne ‘Lotek’ Bennett follows up last year’s ‘International Rudeboy’ album with this new six-track release from First Word Records. It features remixes and reconstructions of ‘Rebel Hi-Fi’ from Warrior One, Andy H, the Ubiquitous Dub Legitimizers and of course Lotek himself. The initial track begins with a sound that hints at vintage reggae DJ style but quickly develops into something else, its unrelenting rhythm track powering along in the background with strong bass and echo, concluding in a much more contemporary mix of sounds that are then taken further in the remixes that follow. Thus the ‘Lotek Remix’ follows-through with a complex mix, its electronic bass-heavy rhythm placing the vocals further back as the dubstep-influenced sound takes over.  Warrior One’s ‘Trancehall’ mix is accurately named, the original vocals being selectively deployed at the service of a merciless drum-and-bass derived rhythm. Andy H’s remix starts off with a straightahead reggae rhythm but quickly transforms itself into a dancehall-based reinvention complete with a highly persistent descending electronic bass line. A further Andy H remix – the ‘Jungle Refix’ – is pretty much what would be expected from the title, the jungle/bass-and-drum feel establishing itself assertively at the outset, interspersed with traces of the original rhythm, and quite possibly the fastest beat recorded on any recent reggae release.  The dub reinvention from the Ubiquitous Dub Legitimizers starts off like a dub version in the received tradition, with powerful bass and echo, then adds some strong electronic beats, concluding with a rich mix of sound that takes the music much further than anticipated from the opening track. Australia-based British producer Lotek, having produced a Mercury prize winner and established a strong reputation from his work with Roots Manuva, Speech Debelle and others manages on this release to demonstrate exactly what can be generated from working at the boundaries of reggae, hip-hop, dance, electronics and latter-day dubstep, drawing from each but not being limited by any of them.

Lotek: Rebel Hifi Remixes. Download release July 2012, First Word Records