Various Unknownwerks Volume 1

The ever-dependable folk at Astralwerks have great intentions with this series’ opener; the goal is to pluck tunes from unknown electronic artists all over the continent of every description. Astralwerks’ hard-hitter Gabriel Shuldiner has chosen music moving from pretty yet awe-inspiringly groovy Metrodub to chunky, bassy Agent Babylon. Strongest tracks include Miami-based Metrodub’s trip-hoppy “Cut-Up Music,” which is atmospheric and lovely with hypnotic beats, great scratching and humorous (but still worthy) vocal samples; and San Fran’s Bionic track “UltraBlue,” whose fusion of LTJ Bukem-esque gorgeous lush d&b and proper old skool jungle Amens, not to mention the glorious sounds of vocalist Ariel Davis, show that not only can d&b blend with jungle, it can sound incredible. Other highlights are Queens’ Beat Pharmacy, whose house tune “The Next Big Chill” is as layered, delicate and complex an opus as a Mozart sonata; and Los Angeles/Memphis-based Le Pimp (also known for his fur fedora, silver teeth and Cadillac collection) who lends his West Coast go-go sound to the compilation, adding real funk and decided dancability with “King of the Bad Groove.” The next instalment in this series will be eagerly-awaited by those lucky enough to obtain a copy of this first impressive volume of Unknownwerks. (Astralwerks)