Putting together a topical dubstep collection is a fool’s errand. The scene moves so fast that by the time a compilation is certified, signed, and ready for release, it’s going to suffer from unavoidable complaints of irrelevancy. That didn’t stop Diplo from releasing Blow Your Head, an attempt to boil down a genre that has more producers than songs these days. The result displays the kaleidoscopic textures south London continues to bring us.
Diplo appears on the album enough times to question his ego, including a completely incongruent remix of a flipped-out Lil Jon song and a Skream-branded deconstruction of Major Lazer highlight “Hold The Line." But the majority of Blow Your Head delivers on what it advertises: Diplo’s hand-picked bangers, most of which are maximal, blaring wonk-fests. These are not the most artistic songs to bear the dubstep name, but they are definitely among the most fun. Doctor P’s “Sweet Shop” reaches deliriously deep into red-out screeches, Caspa’s remix of “Cockney Thug” is given an added layer of pitched-up ridiculousness, and Joker & Ginz offer an earth-shaking wobble in “Re-Up.” The clubs and kids are the targets here; Burial and The Bug would simply look out of place.
Blow Your Head does find a bit of subtlety here and there, usually amounting to its weakest moments. James Blake gives a usual ghostly composition in “Sparing the Horse," but in an embarrassing freshman moment Zomby’s “Strange Fruit” represents the record’s lifeless low, which was unexpected from a producer so buzzed-about. It doesn’t keep Blow Your Head down, though. Diplo’s choices are both solid and organized. This compilation may not represent the dubstep’s rapidly moving frontier, but it does give a holistic nod to the genre’s biggest stars and the examples of why they’ve made it so far.
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