Various Artists
Mr Scruff Presents Keep It Solid Steel

By Andy Parsons

 
Renowned lover of pies, fish and lengthy DJ sets, this first serving of Andy Carthy's Solid Steel megamix hits the shelves this month. Following the pattern of his regular Keep It Unreal sets Andy keeps this first 70 minutes firmly in the zone marked 'chilled' with the tempo barely even breaking a sweat. Dub, funk and soul all flow smoothly as you'd expect with a few classics (Ultramagnetic MCs, Spaghetti Head) sprinkled in between.

However it's the prosaic nature of the mix and lack of stand-out tunes which ultimately leaves the listener slightly underwhelked (sorry... Ed) on the first listen. The fluidity and quality of mixing of Scruff's mixing is never in doubt as the set progresses, but it is Carthy's refusal to raise it up a notch or two which at first niggles then annoys. At this stage it merely feels like Scruff is treading water – particularly next to the four outstanding previous volumes in the series. With a set due soon from Wagon Christ, Kid Koala's Part 2 just round the corner and Amon Tobin's recent live extravaganza to compete with, Scruff will need to work very hard to keep himself at the top of the Ninja Tune tree. There are three more Solid Steel mixes lined up so hopefully he'll redress the balance.
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