Releases — Dubstep Allstars Vol.7 / Various / Tempa CD015

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Dubstep Allstars Vol.7

Various

Tempa CD015
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CD1 – Chef

  • Main Goal – Dub Mechanics
  • Stages – Chefal & Coki feat. Doctor
  • The Highest – G Double
  • Show Me – Von D feat. Lady Phe Phe
  • Show Me (Skreamix) – Von D feat. Lady Phe Phe
  • LFO – Kito feat. Reija Lee
  • You Don't Know What Love Is (Chef VIP) – 2000F & J Kamata
  • Spotted – Dub Mechanics
  • Sleeper (Chef VIP) – Cyrus
  • Level 9 – Mala
  • Tell Me (Distance Remix) – Mr Lager feat. Alys Be
  • Tell Me (Von D Remix) – Mr Lager feat. Alys Be
  • The Unknown – Conquest
  • Man On A Mission (Chef VIP) – Benga
  • 51 Times Stronger – Silkie
  • Seeeriousss (Chef VIP) – Noah D
  • [Tease] Real Hustler (Chef VIP) – Cotti
  • [Tease] Gangsta For Life – Unknown
  • iTunes – Benga
  • Think Ur Greezy – Ghost
  • Untitled – Silkie
  • Fever (Kito Remix) – Christine Vaccine
  • No Warning – Distance
  • Fibre Optics – LD
  • Float – Silkie
  • Day Dreamin' – LD
  • Four Leaf Clover – Mr Lager feat. Asher Dust
  • Hard Skank – LD
  • Sub Soca – Chef
  • The Future – Trolley Snatcher
  • Itch (Chef VIP) – Kutz
  • WTF – Skream
  • Full Moon – Silkie
  • '09 Lick (Chef VIP) – Cluekid
  • Who Remembers – Benga
  • Just Business – D1
CD2 – Ramadanman
  • Tread – Ramadanman
  • Beacon – Untold & D. Franklin
  • Bluez – Peverelist
  • Fram – Blawan
  • Innami – Mickey Pearce
  • Pissed – Footsie
  • I Can't Stop This Feeling (Pangaea Remix) – Untold
  • Tense – Scuba
  • I Beg You – Ramadanman
  • Tripped Up – Shortstuff & Mickey Pearce
  • Router – Pangaea
  • Old Thumbs – Ramadanman
  • Jarvik Mindstate – Peverelist
  • Vancouver – Martyn
  • OSS – Headhunter
  • Revenue (Untold Remix) – Ramadanman
  • Over It – RSD
  • Subzero – D1
  • Sparing The Horse – James Blake
  • Arawak – Quest
  • Untitled – Joe
  • Humber – Ramadanman
  • Tune In (A Dub Tribute) – Skream feat. Earl 16
  • Space Odyssey – Compound One
  • Why – Pangaea
  • Stop What You're Doing – Untold
  • Fifty Mile View – Mount Kimbie
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Liner Notes

Seven volumes into the series that cemented the genre’s name, Dubstep Allstars remains a landmark event, the definitive accolade for a dubstep DJ. Past mixes – like the inaugural volume from Hatcha, the follow up from Youngsta or the most recent edition from Appleblim – have defined eras in dubstep, freezing for posterity musical tides and the ripples of a scene perpetually in flux. So it’s in 2009 that we look to two very different DJs, Ramadanman and Chef, for two very different state-of-the-nation mixes.

 

Its three years since dubstep passed its tipping point and went from tight knit London community to global scene. It is now as accepted by LA ravers as London jazz heads, vocalled by pop stars as diverse as La Roux and Snoop Dogg. And if the first wave of dubsteppers (El-B, Zed Bias, Horsepower) took the swing of garage and made it darker and the second (Hatcha, Skream, Benga, Digital Mystikz & Loefah) re-engineered its DNA into a genre with its own identity, then in many ways Ramadanman is representative of many key ‘third wave’ players.

 

Brought up in the rural south west of England, far from dubstep’s south London birthplace, he learnt to mix at 13 but first encountered dubstep when his grime-inspired productions were compared online to a genre he’d yet to hear of. After investigating, he attended dubstep’s foundational club, Forward>>, and had, as many people do, a life-changing experience. “I first went in April 2006 when Mala was playing alongside N Type and maybe Geeneus I think. Definitely changed my life!” he enthuses. “Really exciting vibe, the heaviest soundsystem I had ever heard and just really changed my outlook on music. I don't think I realised sub bass existed before then.”

 

True to the community spirit of the genre, he left Forward>> not just with a new found musical direction but people to share the enthusiasm for it with: when he subsequently arrived at Leeds University to study languages, he found some of those friends he’d made in the cold, east London queue were also there too. It would be from Leeds University that he and his friends, Ben UFO and Pangaea, would begin a label (Hessle Audio) that would see them take their sound all over the globe.

 

“Hessle is becoming more and more a group of mates really,” says Ramadanman. “We've all known each other a good few years now. … We all play a part in choosing tunes and discussing release plans. Sometimes one of us can become excited about a particular tune, and then the other two hear it and are like 'nah this isn't actually very good' which keeps us all in check I feel. Quite a democratic approach really. We played in Berlin last week, all of us, and it was just really nice having a laugh with mates.”

 

Ramadanman’s sound is spread throughout the 27 tracks of his disc of Dubstep Allstars 7, and just like dubstep in 2009, it is very much international in outlook. The mix opens with his own production “Tread,” an ambient piece that evokes early European choral music but samples a walk with his family in the countryside. The pace soon picks up, like the modern, efficient Eurostar shooting effortlessly through northern France – a region Ramadanman recently returned from his university gap year.

 

As you glide into the heart of the mix and past more and more of his seamlessly mixed selections, a sense of his sonic trademarks begins to coalesce. Clean, dry drums, shorn of the spatial menace so prevalent in malevolent dark south London dubstep, are embellished with cold synths that politely recall row upon row of concrete Dutch suburban housing, whizzing past a commuter train window. Mix after mix slot in regularly, like the cycles of 9-to-5 living. Moments of uncouth rudeness interject, like Mickey Pearce’s “Innami” or RSD’s “Over It,” but like a weekend blowout, life soon returns to normality.

 

The selection is also characterised by its emotional restraint, kept taught, linear and Teutonic as if speeding down the Autobahn. In its pulse and stripped back momentum, you can see why minimal techno legend Villalobos was an early champion of his productions. Moments of emotional release do occur at either end, be it Peverelist’s epic “Bluez” or Mount Kimbie’s “Fifty Mile View” or in the arresting eski-inspired “Stop What You’re Doing” by Untold, but the heart of this mix keeps a stiff upper lip. In interview Ramadanman declines to explain why, simply admitting he doesn’t feel about music like that – and that’s exactly it. This is the maturing dubstep sound emotionally contained and controlled, the diametric opposite of the explosive adolescent wobble tantrums that now dominate parts of the scene. As the distance from drop-culture widens you can see how its global appeal has expanded beyond the genre, as it cosies up to groove-lead scenes like techno and house. “I think there's a danger of some technoey dubstep stuff just sounding like techno at 140bpm and not really differentiating itself from the years of techno that have preceded it. I'm not so much influenced by techno these days really,” he admits. Yet you can’t help but feel that, perhaps, it has left part of its DNA behind.

 

The second disc in Dubstep Allstars 7 is mixed by a DJ who’s had a very different journey. Chef began “DJing” when he was four or five: “My uncle had a reggae and soul soundsystem, so I used to come and turn it on and make a load of racket,” he explains. “My granddad used to have parties with everyone around so it was a natural progression for me to start DJing because that’s what everyone did. But the music that got me wanting to be a DJ was jungle. A lot of the reggae tunes I used to hear my uncle playing I heard re-sampled in jungle, so there was a connection. So I used to bop around to it in my bedroom going ‘yeah this is ruff’ with my mum thinking I was a nutter.”

 

He first met Benga and Skream when he was in school in Croydon. At first they were rivals, stranded the wrong sides of their respective garage crews before common sense prevailed and they combined forces to DJ at a house party. Nearly a decade later Chef is the latest and potentially the last of a lineage of DJs in the current dubstep A-listers to emerge from this one small friendship group. “Yeah it’s nuts man,” laughs Chef, looking back. “It’s gone from being in a crew and cutting these dubs to share, even though there were no major gigs, and when there were people would want garage and grime but you could slip in a few of these tunes that people would call ‘crack head music,’ to playing all over the place every weekend, up and down the country and all over the world. The only place I haven’t played yet is Japan, Brazil and Africa.”

 

As a DJ, Hatcha set the early trends and Skream, Benga, N-Type, and Youngsta soon came through. Chef can still remember the day Hatcha mixed Dubstep Allstars 1 and never thought he’d get to mix a volume himself. Yet he’s made recent years his, not least 2008 when turned heads by three deck-mixing live on air at Mary Anne Hobbs’ “Generation Bass” showcase at the BBC’s legendary Maida Vale studios. “I’ve been quite lucky because most people who fly around for bookings ain’t DJs they’re producer/DJs, people with major releases.”

 

The interim years have been ones of hard graft. A lot of time was spent sitting around at Skreams house, listening to the tunes being made, at a time when if you liked dubstep you pretty much had to go to Skream’s bedroom, or someone else’s bedroom in south London to hear it, it was that niche. When Rinse FM became the first radio station to fully embrace dubstep, Chef quickly featured on Kode9’s show, a set that would earn him his own slot, even if occasionally parts of it were used to debate if aliens were real with Skream. And that’s Chef: in one part really funny, the other deadly serious, especially about his mixing. “I’ve been doing three deck mixing for a while,” he admits. “To tell you the truth I find it easy to mix two tunes together, not to sound big headed or anything but I’ve got to the stage where I can do two tunes very quickly. So sometimes to test myself I’ll go for the three deck mix.”

 

Ask him about Dubstep Allstars 7 and while is time is now, he’ll tell you he felt ready some time ago. There burns a hunger inside him to out-mix and out-select all other DJs, and he’s not afraid to prove it. “I push myself to the limits because I want to be the best DJ in this dubstep shit,” he admits. The selection contains 6 VIP specials: unique versions made for him by the producers as a tribute to his status and influence. It continues a long tradition that runs back through the garage continuum but was particularly inspired by grime godfather Slimzee, who circa 2002-3 had an iron grip on proto-grime productions and with a raft of VIP specials helped be kingmaker for all the future grime MCs. The greatest and also the funniest of Chef’s specials has to be, however, his version of 2000F and J Kamata’s “You Don’t Know What Love Is” which instead of the usual verses, croons hilariously “girl undress/it’s time to impress/baby undress/it’s DJ Chef.”

 

Chef’s selection reflects his roots, with the majority of the A-list London dubstep producers (Skream, Benga, Mala, Coki, Clue Kid, D1, Silkie, Quest, Cyrus, Distance, LD, Ghost…) represented. Yet there’s also a broad range of beats from the global dubstep scene like Skream’s protégé Kito, Noah D, Von D and the aforementioned 2000F mixed in one take on Transition dubplates. And while many other DJs might be temped to play straight bangers, one wobble drop after another, Chef zig zags effortlessly between the ruff and the smooth, lacking the stage fright some DJs seem to be afflicted by, now that dubstep garners massive audiences. “I don’t want to be the best jump up DJ or be the best ‘deep’ DJ I just want to cover the full spectrum of the sound” he insists. “Book me for two hours and you’ll hear all my favourite sounds in dubstep. I try and bring a bit of contrast then build it back up again. And I always get a lot of girls coming to my sets.” And while some of the 2009 tracks may lack the shock-of-the-new compared to the 2006 school that set the trend, the ability to blend the bite of the dancefloor side of dubstep with the emotion of the more mellow edges of the scene is one of Chef’s key strengths.

 

Of course those massive audiences dubstep now attracts might not have shown up, were it not for, in some part, DJ Chef. One evening in 2004 he received, as was usual, a call from Skream sitting in his studio. Chef still winces about the phone bills they accumulated, testing new tunes down the phone but that day it was worth it, as the arpeggios of a new grime-inspired instrumental Skream had been working on fluttered down the line. It was “Midnight Request Line” and Chef would be the first DJ not only hear it but to cut it. “I said to him ‘bruv, that tune is big’ though I don’t even know how I knew over the phone.” As Chef’s show followed Roll Deep’s on Rinse, Chef needed tunes to carry the grime listeners over, so jumped at Skream’s latest creation, convinced it would be the one to “get Skream out there.” It would do a little more than that. Chef would also be the one to get it to the crew’s DJ Maximum, thus simultaneously ensuring “Midnight Request Line’s” status as a grime anthem and setting the seed for dubstep as a whole to begin to expand far beyond the tiny boundaries of a small friendship group in Croydon.

 

Martin Clark

LDN / October 2009

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Truth & J:Kenzo Tempa Remix Tempa 095

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Various Tempa Allstars Vol. 7 Tempa 094

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Nomine Nomine's Chant Tempa 093

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Skeptical Echo Dub / Chain Reaction Tempa 092

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Wen & Parris Caught / Collide Tempa 091

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Biome Cromos Tempa 090

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Nomine Enma Tempa 089

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J:Kenzo J:Kenzo VIP Tempa 088

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AxH Destroy Tempa 086

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Truth How Strange Tempa 085

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Youngsta & Seven Architects / War Cry Tempa 084

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J:Kenzo Magneto (Feel It) / TVR Tempa 083

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Truth Chicks & Drugs / Empire Tempa 082

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J:Kenzo Eyes Wide Open (Remixes) Tempa 081

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J:Kenzo Bloodlines EP Tempa 080

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Killawatt & Ipman Darkplace / Sur Place Tempa 079

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Nomine Nomine's War Tempa 078

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Proxima Thermal Vision / Valve Wars Tempa 077

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Truth & Yayne Devil's Hands / I Belong Tempa 076

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SP:MC Declassified EP Tempa 075

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LX ONE & Youngsta Responsibility / No Cure Tempa 074

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AMIT Acid Trip / Don't Forget Your Roots Tempa 073

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Skream Skreamizm Vol. 7 Tempa 072

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Nomine Nomine's Sound / Searching Tempa 071

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Youngsta Destruction / Poseidon Tempa 070

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Proxima Lie Detection / Brainstem Tempa 069

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Soap Dodgers ill Minded / Contact Tempa 068

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J:Kenzo Invaderz / Depth Charge Tempa 067

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Consequence Injunction / Chamber Music Tempa 066

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Truth & Yayne Dreams / Last Time Tempa 065

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Proxima Formal Junction / Grunge Tempa 064

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Skream Anticipate feat. Sam Frank Tempa 063

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J:Kenzo Ruffhouse / Therapy Tempa 062

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Skream Skreamizm Vol. 6 Tempa 061

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Horsepower Productions Justify / Good Ole Dayz Tempa 059

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Horsepower Productions The Lost Tapes EP Tempa 058

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Dub War The Funky Deal / To The Depths Tempa 057

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J:Kenzo The Roteks / Protected Tempa 056

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Coki Boomba / Carbon Aliens Tempa 055

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Skream feat. Sam Frank Where You Should Be Tempa 053

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SP:MC & LX ONE Down / Judgement Tempa 052

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Benga Phaze: One Tempa 049

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Cosmin TRG Now You Know Tempa 048

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Headhunter 3 Mad P's Tempa 047

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Headhunter Prototype (Remix) Tempa 046

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SP:MC & Joker D Taiko Dub Tempa 045

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Data / Cell Doors Of Perception Tempa 044

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Benga Buzzin' Tempa 043

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Horsepower Damn It / Kingstep Tempa 042

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Various Artists Tempa Allstars Vol.5 Tempa 041

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Skream Skreamizm Vol.5 Tempa 040

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D1 D1:V3 Tempa 039

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Headhunter Prototype Tempa 038 Proto

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Headhunter Grounded Tempa 038 Ground

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Headhunter Physics Impulse Tempa 038

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Benga Pleasure Tempa 037

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TRG Decisions Tempa 036

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Skream Midnight Request Line Remixes Tempa 035

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SP:MC Trust Nobody / Future Tempa 034

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Skream Skreamizm Vol.4 Tempa 033

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D1 D1:V2 Tempa 032

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Headhunter Initiate EP Tempa 031

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Benga & Coki Night (Zinc & Digital Soundboy Remixes) Tempa 030 R

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Benga & Coki Night Tempa 030

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Various Artists Tempa Allstars Vol.4 Tempa 029

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Skream Skreamizm Vol.3 Tempa 028

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Headhunter Futurebound / Descent / Entity Tempa 027

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Benga Crunked Up Tempa 026

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D1 Trial Run EP Tempa 025

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Coki Tortured / Shattered Tempa 024

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Benny Ill & Kode9 Fat Larry's Skank - Remix Tempa 023

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Skream Tapped / Dutch Flowerz Tempa 022

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D1 Missin' / Cocaine / Firin' Blanks Tempa 021

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Skream Skreamizm Vol.2 Tempa 020

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Various Artists Tempa Allstars Vol.3 Tempa 019

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Various Artists The Roots of Dubstep Tempa 018

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Skream Loefah Remixes Tempa 017

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Skream Skreamizm Vol.1 Tempa 016

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D1 Degrees Tempa 015

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Skream Midnight Request Line Tempa 014

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Various Artists Tempa Allstars Vol.2 Tempa 012

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DJ Hatcha Dub Express Tempa 011

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High Plains Drifter Sholay / On Tha Run Tempa 010

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Various Artists Tempa Allstars Vol.1 Tempa 009

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Benny Ill v DJ Hatcha Highland Spring Tempa 008

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Benny Ill, Kode9 Fat Larry's Skank Tempa 007

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Horsepower Smokin' / The Swindle Tempa 006

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Horsepower Fist Of Fury / To The Beat Y'all Tempa 005

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Horsepower Vigilante / What We Do (Remix) Tempa 003

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Horsepower When You Hold Me Tempa 001

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Albums

Proxima Alpha Tempa CD023

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Various Artists Dubstep Allstars Vol.11 – Mixed by J:Kenzo Tempa CD022

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Various Artists Dubstep Allstars Vol.10 – Mixed by Plastician Tempa CD021

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Various Artists Dubstep Allstars Vol.09 – Mixed by Silkie & Quest Tempa CD019

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Various Artists Dubstep Allstars Vol.08 – Mixed by Distance Tempa CD018

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Horsepower Productions Quest For The Sonic Bounty Tempa CD017

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Skream Outside The Box Tempa CD016

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Various Dubstep Allstars Vol.7 Tempa CD015

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Headhunter Nomad Tempa CD014

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El-B The Roots of El-B Tempa CD012

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Appleblim Dubstep Allstars Vol.6 Tempa CD011

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Benga Diary Of An Afro Warrior Tempa CD010

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N-Type Dubstep Allstars Vol.5 Tempa CD009

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Skream Skream! Tempa CD008

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Various The Roots of Dubstep Tempa CD007

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Youngsta & Hatcha Dubstep Allstars Vol.4 Tempa CD006

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Kode9 Feat. The Spaceape Dubstep Allstars Vol.3 Tempa CD005

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Youngsta Dubstep Allstars Vol.2 Tempa CD004

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Horsepower Productions To The Rescue Tempa CD003

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Hatcha Dubstep Allstars Vol.1 Tempa CD002

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Horsepower Productions In Fine Style Tempa CD001

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