AK1200 Shoottokill

During the rise and levelling off of drum & bass, a rare few producers, like Roni Size or Goldie, managed proper albums. With only a spastic drumbeat and pummelling bass line to work with, it takes serious skill to build actual songs and not mere twelve-inch movements, and then do it a dozen times. Dave "AK1200" Miner, a Floridian DJ who was among the first American's to glom on to the nascent jungle scene a decade ago, is using his debut record, Shoottokill, to slip past the velvet rope and gain access to that exclusive club. But though it's a pretty solid collection, he might have to slip the bouncer a C-note to get in (sheesh, sorry for this crappy extended metaphor). AK has a well-developed sense of beat construction, and while there is nothing here as recognisable as a Reprazent bass line, there is a slight sense of individuality to the sonics. But he obviously has little confidence in his own skills, since he brought in a whole host of heavy-hitters to help out. Danny Breaks, Rob Playford, Dominic Angus and DJ Icey all jump behind the boards to build the drum patterns, while Terra Deva delivers a virtuoso drum & bass diva turn ("Fake"), Junior Reid drops some Rastafari science ("Junior's Tune) and both Phife Dawg and Last Emperor help bridge the jungle-rap gap (the latter's cameo on "Contact" works almost perfectly). But while AK is proud of not making yet another mix album, Shoot... sort of comes across like one anyway. (Run)