Release Date: Jul 29, 2014
Record label: Hyperdub
Genre(s): Electronic, Club/Dance
In certain dance music circles, UK label Hyperdub is seen as one of the most influential outlets of the last decade. Once central to the early days of dubstep and grime, it's now just as well known for spreading the sound of Chicago footwork and providing a home for off-kilter soul. Those latter R&B influences are the focus of Hyperdub 10.2, the second of four planned compilations celebrating the label's 10th anniversary.
The second of four compilations celebrating Hyperdub's 10th anniversary, 10.2 is described as a collection of its best songs over the last five years (vocal tracks would be more accurate) that should offset its reputation for releasing "dark and brooding instrumental music." This is one of the UK's most progressive labels kicking back.Given that, opening with Dean Blunt and Inga Copeland's astringent, harpsichord-flecked "Signal 2012" is a weird move. It is brilliant, but in an unapologetically strange way. Likewise, "Never Defeated" by Fhloston Paradigm (AKA King Britt), a particularly fraught and sonically elusive slice of neo-soul, could hardly be said to lack chewy complexity.
Following on from the largely club-oriented sounds of Hyperdub 10.1, the first of four 10th anniversary compilations promised by the label this year, comes the second in the series, 10.2. Hyperdub have billed it as casting "some sunshine over [the label's] dread filled reputation, showcasing an underrated cast of talented songwriters, vocalists and producers", suggesting a move towards the more restrained area of its roster, "an overlooked side of the label's back catalogue" as Hyperdub put it. As with 10.1, previously unreleased material sits alongside past label highlights, bringing together the various influences and sub-genres that have seen Hyperdub emerge as forerunners in electronic music circles.
Tenth anniversaries are a time for celebration, but also for consolidation. With all that water under the bridge, conventional logic says you ought to have a pretty clear idea of what the hell you’re up to by now. For a label as inherently slippery as Hyperdub, guided by instinct rather than genre or (shudder) branding, it presents a conundrum: to look forward, or back; to explain, or to elude? To get round this, the label has assembled not one, or two, but four compilations, each one focused on a different region of the Hyperdub universe.