Various Artists ‘Electronic Bass Music Volume 1’ (Sugarbeat)

Utah Saints mix a great selection of cuts from their Sugarbeats label

Eclectic is an overused word. There you go, I have just used it again. Incredibly, though, what Utah Saints have succeeded in doing with this mix album is knit together electro, dub, garage and 2-step bass workouts from their own Sugarbeats label into a truly satisfying and cohesive package.

This could have ended up an unfocused grab-bag of recent releases. Instead, what you get is a mix of personal favourites cleverly sequenced for a great night out or in, whether it be the bass-heavy high-octane rush of DJ/producer Alex Schmitz on ‘Get Back Up Again’ or Santero’s slick mix of dub, garage and hip hop on ‘Drop The Bomb’, featuring a proper and welcome blast from the past appearance by Credit To The Nation. Inevitably, certain artists do stand out and the label has a definite breakout star of the future in former Cassette Jam member Rory Lyons. A high point is his take on Luniz‘s old hip hop number, ‘I Got 5 On It’, a majestic opening building to an exquisite drop and razor-sharp slashes of bass.

Ultimately, Utah Saints greatest strength as label bosses isn’t simply that they are successful artists in their own right, as much as their all-round experience. They are an act that understands how the UK club scene has grown and evolved over the past three decades and can apply what they know tastefully to their artists. They even take a moment to remind everyone that they haven’t lost any of their old magic by reworking ‘What Can You Do For Me?’ and demonstrating that it’s still possible for them to twist that Annie Lennox sample into even more agreeable shapes. And if that’s not enough for you, the Saints round off the album with a seamless DJ mix, meaning you get an awful lot of bang for your buck.

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