· By Worship Recordings

DJ Mag's 'Leading Player' - WOR.CD.01

A Worship Records Compilation mixed by Rob Paine Worship This compilation sees Philadelphia dubmeister Rob Paine collect and mix together the first 10 releases from his label, showcasing its distinctive brand of dub-house favoured by the likes of Joe Claussell, Ben Watt, Inland Knights, Colin Dale and Silicone Soul. From the opening track 'Standby Solomonic Sound' by Rocket (aka San Fran bass warriors Dj Garth and Eric James) - it's obvious this LP is gonna be a total skankfest. The feel of the opener has a kind of skinny, fast-paced dub structure that overtly puts the Jamaican flavour to the fore and the house ethic in the background. It's not overly chunky, but features lots of percussion and plenty of echo and reverb. Solomonic Sound's answer comes loud 'n' direct next in the shape of 'Beating Heart', which wraps similarly authentic reggae infrastructures with warm melody and slightly weightier beats. Swedish sonic chameleon Hakan Lidbo - known as much for his tech house and funkygrimequirk house as he is for his dubwise experiments - is featured next with 'Trinity', a more bouncy, housebased concern with some mumbling skank-vocals and big bad b-line bizznizz upping the ante. Solomonic Sound start to bring a more obviously housebased feel through with the driving 'Night Life' (again, a Jamaican vocal seeps out of the mix), and the deep, edgy 'Come Fi Mash It', which comes packed with intense tribalism, breaking through the mellow, ploddy vibe of the mix. Kidz On Christian Street (another Rob Paine project) offer 'Hooked On Dub'. This is where things take on a fiery, hypnotic feel; it's hard not to be mesmerised by the dense coils of smoke-filled sound and dred-bass that snakes its way out of the speakers and around your cerebellum. Solomonic Sound's 'Children Of Israel' soon soothes the atmosphere again with its conscious roots vocal. Nectar's Divine Bloodgrass is a nifty little shuffler, as is Hakan Lidbo's 'Solomonic Trinity (Solomonic Sound Remix)', which ushers in a tasty little Latin vibe via some percussive swing and drum sounds. This vibe is continued by Emotion Detectors' insouciant Latin house workout 'Cuba Rico'. Divine Conception brings 'Just You And Me', a soulful house number with subtle dub inflections featuring vocals from jai Ali. For the close down, Solomonic Sound provide the Pete Moss remix of 'Night Life' (brighter, techier) and the thick, pouting 'Mash Down Dub'. Rob finally sheds any aliases to present two tracks under his own name for the finale - 'Seeing Clear' and the slickly rotting breakbeat version, 'Seeing Dubbed'. Rob's presence is obviously very pervasive throughout the LP (he's involved in almost every track apart from one if you count remixes), but there is enough diversity present to stop it being a problem. A great blend of spiritual dynamics with well sculpted dancefloor fodder, this album highlights a label that is undoubtedly master of its field. (Paul Sullivan)