Various Northern Faction 4

Winnipeg's Balanced Records has been a leader in well polished but assertive dance floor dub for many years now. Their latest compilation finds them continuing to source great tracks from Canada and beyond. The Canadians are represented by Dubmatix, who continues his torrid streak of quality releases with "Black Madonna Dub" and the languid "Ischense Dub." More aggressive are Banff-based Cain and DJ Brace, whose dancehall-channelling "Slammed" is an album highlight. The international all stars are impressive too, with Noiseshaper and Subatomic Soundsystem contributing solid tracks. But it's the Balanced mainstays that often impress the most. The Leaf System are remixed twice, once by Kasm to create a steel pan/tabla dub groove to great effect, and also by Ottawa beat master Rise Ashen, who contributes an album-ending ambient dub masterpiece that will give you sweet dreams after a long night of skanking in a modern style. (Balanced)