Joy Orbison 'Selectors 004' (Dekmantel)
In less than a year, Dekmantel’s ‘Selectors’ series has managed to breathe life into the seemingly moribund concept of the compilation. Like recent offerings from Young Marco and Marcel Dettmann, Joy Orbison has collected together an armful of often obscure, unmixed, full-length tracks which are all highly cherished residents of his record shelves. Besides his production and DJ accomplishments, Joy is an electronic music aficionado, with an almost Bill Brewster-like approach to analysing a record’s provenance. With ‘Selectors 004’, he crafts a loving testimony to the eclectic and rapidly changing British dance music scene, and the pervasive influence of the Caribbean soundsystem.
The 11 selections span nearly three decades, ranging from Nemesis’ 1989 electro/street-soul gem ‘Heartbreaker’ right through to the warped, avant-garde r’n’b of ‘Arrange’ by Lewisham’s Klein. Like the rest of ‘Selectors 004’, the red thread here is formidable bass and a peculiarly British zeal to mash things up. There’s a timelessness to many of Joy O’s selections here, too: take the 22-year-old liquid d’n’b of ‘Lush’ from Source Direct’s alter ego Oblivion, or Santos Rodriguez’ ‘Road To Rio A2’, the product of stalwart producer Arthur ‘DJ Artwork’ Smith. It was originally released 18 years ago, but its breathless pace, powered by tribal congas, still feels box-fresh. And that, you feel, is the real point that Joy Orbison is making here – the very best music, whatever its vintage, keeps on delivering. Stephen Worthy