Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Select Cuts from Blood and Fire [Select Cuts, 2000]
Never a fan of reggae version sides or Mikey Dread 'tween-sets, left cold by the soundlabs of not just Björk but Linton Kwesi Johnson, unconverted to the gospel of Macro Dub Infection, and having expended too many hours on the title label's lovingly reconstituted arcana collections, I didn't trust my attraction to this master compilation. So to check for brain softening, I returned to Macro Dub Infection--and was soon cursing my own cowardice in never calling it out as the arid piece of Eurotheory it is. At its most abstract, this music is juicy. Only a full-time herbhead wants to be set adrift on disc upon disc of bass 'n' sample. But even herbheads get off on the occasional swatch of tune-like the five-note guitar phrase that tops the catchy bassline of Glen Brown's "Lego the Herb Man Dub," or the "Yabby Yabby You" chant with horn and piano variations on Yabby You's "Conquering Lion." Enough of those and all the mirrored reverb and seismic throb and voices warning and announcing and grunting and muttering and expostulating make the right kind of sense--or nonsense. A-