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Hyperdub 10.2 Christian Eede , July 23rd, 2014 11:57

Following on from the largely club-oriented sounds of Hyperdub 10.1, the first of four 10th anniversary compilations promised by the label this year, comes the second in the series, 10.2. Hyperdub have billed it as casting "some sunshine over [the label's] dread filled reputation, showcasing an underrated cast of talented songwriters, vocalists and producers", suggesting a move towards the more restrained area of its roster, "an overlooked side of the label's back catalogue" as Hyperdub put it.

As with 10.1, previously unreleased material sits alongside past label highlights, bringing together the various influences and sub-genres that have seen Hyperdub emerge as forerunners in electronic music circles. Dubstep, UK Garage, footwork and UK Funky; labels that Hyperdub has become most commonly associated with, lie beside the more experimental parts of its ten-year history. These sounds are also weaved together with throwback '90s R&B (Cooly G's 'Obsessed') and soul-infused hip-hop (Morgan Zarate's 'Sticks & Stones' ft. Eska and Ghostface Killah), twisted to suit the label's overall philosophy, extensive though it is.

10.2 opens with two of the label's most inscrutable signees: Dean Blunt & Inga Copeland and Burial. Blunt & Copeland's contribution, 'Signal 2012', was one of their final productions as a duo, having also released music with the label as Hype Williams, and, coming after the dancefloor-leanings of 10.1, highlights the growing diversity of Hyperdub's signing policy in its expansion as a label. Blunt & Copeland spent much of their time as a pair feeding interviewers with bizarre, false stories and shunning conventional release strategies. However, 'Signal 2012' finds them at their most accessible, though that's still somewhat more eccentric than anything else that follows on 10.2, on account of Copeland's uncharacteristically dominant, untreated vocals. Meanwhile, Burial (arguably responsible for bringing Hyperdub to relative mainstream attention) features with 'Shell Of Light'.

In the wake of Burial's Untrue, Hyperdub began to open itself up to more outsiders, having only put out a handful of releases not credited to label founder Steve Goodman, aka Kode9, before its release in 2007 – and EPs from Ikonika, Zomby and Darkstar immediately followed. What is interesting is that more obvious picks from Untrue to show Will Bevan's ability as a songwriter (despite his exclusively sample-based use of vocals) such as 'Archangel' and 'Untrue' are put aside in favour of 'Shell Of Light'. It bears all the hallmarks of a Burial production – drizzling rain, fragmented snares and hi hats, disembodied vocal samples – but still sounds essential and exceptional seven years on, even if we all think we are aware of the Burial template by now.

Jessy Lanza, responsible for one of the most underrated full lengths of last year, Pull My Hair Back, contributes two tracks: '5785021', from one such debut album, and 'You And Me', a previously unreleased staple of her live set. Lanza is one of the more conventional songwriters of Hyperdub's signees, though that's not to undersell her ability to produce songs that are both restrained and affecting, simultaneously oozing vulnerability and sexuality. On '5785021', Lanza's nonchalant "You know my address" is carried off with the kind of playful vibrancy that hints to a seductive, but ultimately in control personality. 'You And Me' points further to this no-fucks-given character as she moves between a deadpan refrain of "If you really care about you and me, you would know it's not about what you want" and soaring, unfettered ad libs in the track's climax. Glossy synths sit on top of flimsy percussive claps, reminiscent of debut album cut 'Kathy Lee', allowing Lanza's often understated vocals to excel without being drowned out.

As with Kode9's Rinse:22 set and Hyperdub 10.1, the inimitable footwork pioneered by the late DJ Rashad again features. The inclusion of 'Only One', taken from another of Hyperdub's standout releases in 2013, Rashad's Double Cup, serves as another example of just how wide-reaching Hyperdub's dedication has been, and still is, to bringing together disparate sounds within the collective bracket of electronic music and giving them the wider recognition they deserve. Throughout its ten years as a label, Hyperdub has managed to establish and uphold a reputation for consistently on-point and challenging releases that has seen it become one of the most vital UK independent labels, and the range of sounds present on 10.2 is testament to that. 

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