Smith & Mighty Retrospective

For a while in the mid-’90s, Bristol was one of the most influential musical cities on the planet with Massive Attack, Portishead and Tricky calling it home. Rob Smith & Ray Mighty are often left out of the equation but their contribution in laying the foundation for what became the "Bristol sound” cannot be understated enough. While Massive Attack were in embryonic form (Smith & Mighty produced their first single "Any Love”), the duo had already perfected their fusion of lead-heavy dub bass lines, lurching old-school hip-hop breaks and plaintive vocals. Their radical reworkings of "Walk On By” and "Anyone (Who Had A Heart)” are the unquestionable highlights on this compilation, even if the superior version of the former wasn’t picked. There is other notable and important content here that also pulls from Smith & Mighty’s eventual album releases. Fresh Four’s "Wishing On A Star”, a Smith & Mighty production included here, is significant because it was the first record from the Bristol scene to attain chart success and also because the group featured Krust and Suv, who would later be figures in Roni Size’s Reprazent drum & bass crew. While the groups that followed Smith & Mighty went on to craft more complex and abstract sonics, the foundation of what they were building on is clearly crystallised on this essential contextualising document. (!K7)