Various - Global Pressure
If you remember the attitude of the music press when a few of those groups signed to Nation Records first appeared - "Asians...like, rapping and playing guitars...I don't get it!" - you'll remember that, initially, Fun^Da^Mental and Asian Dub Foundation were written about as much for their politics as for their music. As with the industry's painfully inaccurate view of Public Enemy, whose Fight The Power is as much a storming hip-hop track as it is diatribe, these groups should be praised for their raucous push of influences into hip-hop and dance as much as for their often brutally subjective view on politics.
Global Pressure - Cutting-Edge Global Remixes, released on 3rd November 2003, goes some way to redressing that balance, not only for those who new to music released by Nation Records but also, by compiling many remixes that had only ever appeared on singles of 12" promos, those who are already fans of the labels. What will help both parties is that Nation Records have worked hard to ensure that each remix is more than just a new rhythm behind an existing track, regardless of whether it works. Be it Andy Weatherall requesting to remix Uzma's Yab Yum or Pressure Drop agreeing to remix Fun^Da^Mental on the basis of a shared anti-war standpoint, there's much more to each remix included here than turning a pound or two.
Opening with the sirens and fat synths of Fun^Da^Mental's The Last Gospel, Global Pressure breaks into an expansive six-minute mix of dance and hip-hop before thumping the soul of Transglobal Underground's International Times through Justin Robertson's hip-hop and funk. By track three, Charged & Juttla's remix of Asian Dub Foundation's Strong Culture, any smooth sounds offered by the opening tracks have been pushed out of the way by an uncompromising scrap between hip-hop, garage and the sound of driving too fast through deserted city streets in the early hours of the morning - this song demands to be played at such volume as to make your neighbours leave home. Recycler continues this trend and, if Charged's Elektro Punjabi Dakoo and the widescreen remix of Uzma's Yab Yum slow Global Pressure a little, Asian Dub Foundation's Witness and Fun^Da^Mental's Demonised Soul, the two best songs here, are like riots played out over hip-hop beats dragged out of steelworks.
After that, there's little point in Global Pressure trying to maintain this momentum and so it moves to slow the beats and bring in the graceful funk of Isaac Hayes to Yam Yam's The Spectacle before the guitars and tablas of Joi's E.S.Y. With Mother India, Fun^Da^Mental prove they can do deep soul as well as their earlier hip-hop tracks and, closing the album, DJ Cheb i Sabbah's Ganga Dev is a dance track full of rich Indian samples that plays off the earlier tracks in the best way possible.
You've gotta love hip-hop and dance that - and there's no other way of putting it - rocks. As songs like The Aphex Twin's Come To Daddy, Bomb The Bass's Bug Powder Dust and Gravediggaz's Bang Your Head rock like the devil, so too do Elite Force's remix of Recycler's FUH 115 and DJ Scud's furious mix of Asian Dub Foundation's Witness. And, as albums like Public Enemy's Fear Of A Black Planet, The Wu-Tang's Enter The Thirty Six Chambers and The Prodigy's Music For The Jilted Generation are landmarks in being tough, tough records, Global Pressure is well able to join that small selection of albums, which is almost as high a recommendation as this critic is prepared to give. Indeed, the effect of a first listen to Global Pressure in 2003 is as revelatory as hearing The Chemical Brothers' Exit Planet Dust on its release in 1995 for being thrown into its dust up between rock, dance and hip-hop.
Throughout this review, I've been deliberately playing down the 'world music' just in case anyone would be given the impression that this is but one step away from Peter Gabriel and Sting when it crashes genres, beats and influences the world over into one blisteringly good album, much like Talking Heads' still impressive Remain In Light.
As with all the best collections issued by record labels, Global Pressure sounds like an official release of a taped-at-home compilation, so right is its feeling of having had each track personally selected for this disc. Best of all is that, with acts like Asian Dub Foundation and Recycler, two tracks of one and a single song by the other don't feel anywhere near enough. Further purchases of releases by Nation Records look like they'll be necessary but if you don't have this, you owe it to yourself to get Global Pressure - it's simply magnificent.