Given the pretentious nature of his last release, 1998's Saturnz Return, the idea of another double album from Goldie (Clifford Price), one of Britain's most recognized DJs, isn't even enticing on the surface. Incredible Sound of Drum 'n' Bass, an album that came out last year in the U.K., but is only now being released domestically, finds Goldie mixing other people's songs -- given his background as a club DJ, it's actually a return to his roots. But his focus here is so narrow -- he never ventures from straight-ahead jungle -- that it's hard to still see him as an innovator.
After opening with hard-hitting percussion (Doc Scott's "Here Come the Drums"), the first disc then segues into tracks from Alex Reece, Roni Size, and Doc Scott (again) before concluding with Grooverider's moody "Rainbows of Colour" and Souljah's thumping "Fade 2 Black." The equally predictable second disc opens with Goldie's own "Manslaughter" and then shifts into tracks by Goldie (again), Doc Scott, and J Majik. If this all appears rather redundant, it is. Goldie spins a total of 26 tracks, and the entire album flows together quite well, but sticks with staccato beats (and occasional vocal samples and diva-like wails) that all sound like they came from the same set of sequencers.
Coming from someone who once discovered a new sound -- Goldie, after all, helped define the parameters of drum 'n' bass when he formed the Metalheadz label in the early '90s -- Incredible Sound of Drum 'n' Bass regresses rather than progresses. Tracks by Doc Scott, Alex Reece, and Codename John (all of whom are on Metalheadz) simply sound dated -- they're neither distorted enough to be considered avant garde nor melodic enough to keep pace with the current house revival. It's quite possible that Goldie, who maintains friendships with many of the DJs represented here -- is either too close to the material he has selected or just unwilling to take a chance on something totally new. -
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