Dele Fadele, resident compilophile, with the lowdown on the Various showdown...
Trust highly venerated New York City avant-garde composer Steve Reich to claim credit for other artists' dancewise manipulation of his work. DJ Spooky, Coldcut and Andrea Parker are some of the conspirators who turn the master of repetition's musical installations into vaguely techno-friendly ditties.
Necessary or evil? Too cerebral by half for the average philistine, but a timely reminder that it's always great to get ideas above your station. 5/10
Pi: Music For The Motion Picture
The art-house movie of the title delves into depths of numerology, isolation and borderline insanity. And who better to provide an aural approximation than Clint Mansell (of Pop Will Eat Itself infamy) and electro noise monsters like Autechre, Orbital and Aphex Twin?
Necessary or evil? Just plain disturbing. Not to be experienced by unchaperoned weaklings. 6/10
Resident. Two Years Of Oakenfold At Cream
Irritating crowd noises accompany the top DJ's wistful reflections on times gone by (well, the last couple of years). A selection of housey tracks from obscure artists as well as Underworld and Mansun, can't shake the feeling that it would've been more fun to have attended Cream nights.
Necessary or evil? Dance music constantly evolves and only a small percentage of these tracks transcend time. Paul Oakenfold must've moved on - musically - since. 4/10
Heavyweight 3: A Blood And Fire Sampler
(Blood And Fire)
Much kudos should go to Mick Hucknall and his compatriots at this Manchester label for keeping the home fires of '70s reggae burning. To introduce bona fide singers like Johnny Clarke and Vivian Jackson and an old-time toaster called Trinity to a new audience is a laudable quest, despite generational differences.
Necessary or evil? It might be more advisable to track down the full albums of the featured artists, but then the sampler does do its avowed job - offering a crash course on the label's licensing prowess. 7/10
Just when it seemed hip-hop couldn't mutate any further, here comes 42 tracks of the underground southern-States rap adjunct known as 'Miami bass'. Possessing a fixation with the art of shaking butts that would frighten even Washington's arse-obsessed Sir Mix-A-Lot, this is grimy ghetto party music completely stripped of any violence, verbal or otherwise.
Necessary or evil? Liable to corrupt, deprave and soil the listener's mind. And that's without the accompanying booty-fest video. 6/10
To read all our reviews first - days before they appear online - check out NME magazine, on sale every Wednesday