Various Artists Well Deep: Ten Years Of Big Dada Recordings Review

Released 2007.  

BBC Review

Plenty of good tracks to drop into an after-party session at 4am.

Nick Street 2007

Will Ashon founded Big Dada recordings (hip hop based) with the assistance of Ninja Tunes head honcho, Peter Quicke. Will’s intention with the label was to spread the word of hip hop, heavily influenced by the underground vibes coming out of LA in the early nineties and New York City in the mid nineties. Will’s policy is ‘to constantly be trying something new, to be fresher than everyone else.’

CD1 hits you right in the ear with two hit tracks by Roots Manuva and TY. These are followed by a smattering of tracks that see the label's experimental side coming to the fore, with decidedly mixed results. On the other hand, you also have tracks which draw influences from old skool hip-hop to a more contemporary vibe, and it smacks you right in the stomach, it’s that good. Lotek hifi’s "Perculator", TTC’s "Dans le Club’ and Spank Rock’s "Sweet Talk" are awesome tunes which are always worth a revisit.

Moving swiftly onto the second cd, the first track, "50/50" by Wiley remains as in your face as you can get. The next three new artists; New Flesh "Stick & Move" to Infinite Lives "Worcestershire Sauce" and NMS "Super Pretzel" are blinking wonderful. They revolve around warming vocals and jazzy chords with intellectual and funny lyrics about a packet of crisps, to dark sound effects with many different musical influences all glued by the same material: soul. Then the album moves into the kind of grooves which are radical, but noisy. There’s too much going on and it doesn’t give you the chance to catch a hook or the vibe. Not to get too bogged down about this, there are one or two surprises, such as the Busdriver’s tracks "Beauty Supply & Demand" and "Unemployed Black Astronaut", to King Geedorah ft MF Doom & Mr Fantastik's "Anti Matter" and also Lotek Hifi's "Can’t Believe".

As a compilation album goes, Big Dada's material is geared towards the real experimental hip hop heads. Some of the material is so downbeat that you could occasionally lose the will to live, and for this reason this will never appeal to a wider mainstream hip hop audience. Saying that though, there are a good few tracks on this album which would still be perfect to drop into an after-party session at 4am.

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