VA: Dieselboy presents The Human Resource

Massive two-disc overview of Dieselboy's (Damian Higgins) drum'n' bass imprint Human, the first half ('Selected Works') an 80-minute compilation of club anthems and remixes, the second ('Evol Intent Assemble the Monster') a DJ-mix that stitches together tracks from the label's catalogue into a 70-minute meltdown. Dieselboy's previous album, The Dungeonmaster's Guide, attempted to collapse barriers separating multiple genres, and this collection (the first disc especially) does the same, with occasional snatches of house, trance, industrial, techno, hip-hop, and soul surfacing amidst the relentless attack. Writhing bass lines, hammering breaks, and buzzing synths mercilessly roar throughout the set's blazing tracks. Even Evol Intent's hardcore jungle-influenced sound is punishing—but in a good way.

Though the opening disc's first half is good enough with steaming tracks by Vector Burn (“Paradise Lost (D-Star Remix)”) and Bad Company UK (“Mass Hysteria (Hive Remix)”) leaving a memorable mark, things kick into serious gear with the arrival of Evol Intent and Ewun's incredible “The Rapture” (when a voice commands “Look up at the sky,” you'll surely expect something annihilating as opposed to angelic to appear), every cut thereafter distinguishing itself in one way or another. A vaguely Eastern scent pervades the clanking monster “Broken Sword” by Evol Intent, Mayhem, and Thinktank while Kaos, Karl K, and Jae Kennedy's “Studio 54” opens with an elegant piano episode before becoming a bright, bass-driven club raver.

Assembled by Atlanta 's Evol Intent (Knick, Gigantor, the Enemy), disc two begins with an overwrought voiceover (“new flesh” text taken from Mary Shelley's Frankenstein) but moves on quickly to the raucous jungle blaze of Infiltrata and Define's “Parallel Universe.” Some of the first disc's material re-appears (“Broken Sword,” “Barrier Break,” “The Rapture”) but, integrated seamlessly, isn't unwelcome. Despite being a collection of multiple artists' work, the stealthy, razor-sharp mix perpetuates Evol Intent's punk-hard sound through twenty-three industrial strength cuts. Highlights include the hip-hop and funk flavour Styles of Beyond injects into the MC-laden “Subculture (Upbeats Remix),” the vibrant soul-jazz of DJ Fresh's “Wargames '03,” and the crushing hammerhead synth lines in Upbeats' “Le Mammoth.”

If the set (more the genre) has a failing, it's relentlessness. While there are obviously differences between the artists' tracks (compare Bad Company UK's more soulful take on the genre to Evol Intent's incendiary detonations), nearly every piece embraces the same wailing bpm (Infiltrata and Hochi's remix of Dieselboy and Kaos's choral epic “Barrier Break” the rare track that slows the pace), and the sameness of the spasmodic style can begin to seem one-dimensional. Having said that, the thunderous set definitely impresses as a solid sampler of hardcore drum'n' bass.

May 2006