Although one of the longest serving crews in Bristol, responsible for production duties on early Massive Attack material and a heavy influence on Talkin' Loud hero Roni Size, Rob Smith and Ray Mighty have also been the unluckiest--their career littered with bad deals and what feels like a thousand near misses. This compilation is nothing if not testament to their originality, with over half of the contents their own material under either their original or More Rockers guise with Peter D Rose. The perfectly mixed album comes in two distinct sections, the first of which focuses on dub inspired material including early covers of "Anyone (Who Had A Heart)" and "Walk On" while the second is dominated primarily by drum and bass with "Rainbow" the highlight of this section, Virginia's vocal close to being overpowered by vast synths. With well over 20 tracks of speaker rocking percussion, room warming bass and sketched melodics there is something for everyone in this instalment of DJ Kicks, the crowning moment coming from Tammy Payne's vocals on "Same".--Kingsley Marshall
The other reviewers are right, This Smith and Mighty record is better than their recent Big Word, Small World and their 1st Bass is Maternal album. I think this should be credited also to the several guest musicians (More Rockers, Flynn&Flora, etc) and vocalist that appear on this DJ Kicks collection. S&M are exclusively on 8 or 9 of the 24 tracks on this album.
I was curious about S&M after becoming a fan of the Trip-Hop/ Bristol Sound through Massive Attack and Portishead then learning that they were actually influenced by Smith & Mighty. So I gave them a shot with Big World, Small World and was only impressed with a few great tracks. But this Dj Kicks album is much more interesting all round.
But S&M's deep influence in Dub and Reggae sets them apart from their other well known Trip-Hop counterparts. This is an excellent mixed CD featuring the pioneers of the Bristol sound that should not be missed.
The mix begins almost like an evolution of the music...first we are presented with some of the best dub reggae I've ever heard until the tracks evolve into trip hop and hip hop, then almost majestically transforms into the complex drum patterns of drum n' bass, which carries the last half of the album. The Dnb is mostly rapid breakbeats over an atmosphere of jazzy funk, like alot of Bristol DnB. It even features a Dnb version of Roberta Flack's "The First Time". The amount of soul poured into this album is unbelievable. Possibly the best mix CD ever in my opinion and a document of the British Urban sound. Essential album for anyone into progressive music. For those who believe the last innovative music existed in the mid 70s this is evidence that good original music is still being produced. Big up to the ones known as Smith and Mighty.