Preeminent repackager Soul Jazz Records set quite a task for itself with Box of Dub — to contextualize and locate dubstep and currents of digital dub within the UK's soundscape. A futurist music from its inception, dub expanded in pop's musical and critical imagination in its fourth decade (check essential comps such as Kevin Martin's mid-90s Macro Dub Infection and BSI's 2000 Docking Sequence for proof). Box of Dub curates original tracks from some of the most compelling artists to connect the generational dots.
Martin's King Midas Sound's dystopian and disorienting "Surround Me" recalls Bristolians like Tricky, Smith & Mighty and Massive Attack. Horace Andy's '90s influential experiments loom over Sub Version and Basic Channel/Rhythm & Sound hero Paul St. Hilaire's songs. On Tayo's "Dread Cowboy," a one-drop loop gives way to a riddim dense with its progeny: skittering southern hi-hats, throbbing jungle bass. South London style dubstep is far less cluttered, more likely to follow the spaciousness of two-step. Skream's shuffling "Sub Island," Kode 9's driving "Magnetic City" and above all, Burial's shimmering "Unite" are all brilliant examples. Box of Dub is less a definitive statement than an often intriguing snapshot of sounds in motion.