Various Blunted 3

The main thing that's noticeable in the third instalment of the Blunted series, apart from most of the label's compilations, is the fact that Shadow has decided to use a wider range of artists, rather than Hed Sessions' method of six artists with two tracks each. This allows for a more diverse sounding record overall and makes room for some musical rookies to slide in with the label's roster artists. Shadow's two greatest assets, Mujaji and Saru, are reduced to previously released cuts, which is a shame, considering new tracks would have increased the value of Blunted 3 a great deal. Of the relatively unknown tracks, Fugitive Elf's "Creepy Place" receives top marks for their blend of a child's dialogue mixed with a repetitive horn, scratches and hip-hop beats. Megablast also stands out as a highlight with a Ras Guru-sampled "Loungin,'" which helps the compilation hold its claim for being a good chill-out record. But tracks such as Bitstream Dream's "Labyrinth of Darkness," with its ear-piercing vocal sample, and Futique's "Trump Card," with its Casio-heavy beats, are almost intolerable, spoiling the blend and would ruin your "blunted" experience indeed. Even though Blunted 3 offers more variety than past Shadow compilations, it lacks what is most essential: solid tunes from start to finish. (Shadow)