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Various Artists: Broklyn Beats: (Sic)

Album: Broklyn Beats: (Sic)
Label: Broklyn Beats

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Dance music has a long history of warring imagery, drawn from both the us-against-them ethos of the culture and the militaristic moods ingrained in so much machine music. Politics and principles make worthy overlays to a good bit of the backstory, but there's also the lingering reality that, however well-aimed, horror and noise represent aesthetic values as remote as any other. Symbolic or not, there's no mistaking the seizing palpitations at the heart of Broklyn Beats: (Sic), a sample of a New York underground whose frayed nerves dangle in an eerie stillness pitched on the brink of a storm. Drawn from a series of seven-inch singles released by the Broklyn Beats label, the album features a mishmash of searching drum 'n' bass experiments smeared into a Jamaican soundsystem background. Two opening tracks by Doily strike an ominous chord, cycling lo-fi industrial moans through ambling basslines and rotten atmospheres. The dank rawness persists through a steady build laced through Race Traitor's black-power march and the worldly slither of DJ /rupture, whose "Rumbo Babylon" strains a Moroccan-sounding guitar figure through a filter of radio signals and rave reminders. From there, Broklyn Beats dives headlong into madness, marking a high point for a drum 'n' bass scene otherwise devolved into nagging uniformity. Song titles like "March Of The Oil Barons" and "Punk Not Dead, Cave Good And Strong" do their literal duty, but the anxious flail of Broklyn Beast, 1-Speed Bike, and I-Sound invoke a bunker mentality more than words ever could. Built around splatter-breaks that don't favor noise at the expense of form, Broklyn Beats takes drum 'n' bass back to its early days of lateral movement and careening rhythm shifts. In that way, the disc offers a draft of revisionist history, but little about Broklyn Beats' teeth-gnashing shriek signals anything other than pointed immediacy of a weirdly soothing sort.