The pioneering dance label's compilation focuses on the bangers
Hyperdub is perceived as either a dance label for chinstrokers or an important chapter in the tale of how dubstep went mainstream. Neither point of view gives the full picture. Founded in 2004 by Steve Goodman, better known as producer Kode9, the label came to the fore in 2008 when Burial’s second album, ‘Untrue’, was nominated for the Mercury Prize. Any temptation to hammer that nocturnal, garage-derived sound into paydirt was avoided: Goodman expanded the label’s remit to include just about any electronic music he liked. A decade on, here’s two rambunctious hours of it.
‘Hyperdub 10.1’, the first of four planned anniversary collections, highlights his taste for dancefloor bangers: most of these 33 tracks are uptempo bolts of energy. Burial kicks off Disc Two with the dub-techno rumble of 2006 album track ‘Spaceape’, but there’s nothing by recent alumni like the R&B-ish Jessy Lanza or American electronica artist Laurel Halo.
From the start of the first disc, though, there’s garage with an ’80s funk interlude (DVA, ‘Mad Hatter’) and combative grime with lithe rhymes and deep bass (Flowdan’s ‘Ambush’). The genre of Chicago footwork is also represented by DJ Spinn, DJ Earl and the late DJ Rashad, whose recent passing adds an unexpected poignancy. Virtually unheard outside its home city a few years ago, Chicago footwork’s earworm samples and insane drum programming encapsulate how Hyperdub is music for both the head and the feet.
Everything on the second half of ‘10.1’ has been released before, but the tracklisting reignites a few minor dancefloor anthems. UK funky, fleeting subgenre that it was, is represented by Champion, Funkystepz and Ill Blu’s brilliant ‘Clapper’; grime legend Terror Danjah gets two selections and there’s other genre-evading greatness like Walton’s ‘Aggy’ and LV’s ‘Sebenza’. This is the side of Hyperdub that aims itself at the clubs, and does so excellently. Flinging yourself around your house is an acceptable substitute, though.