- Joy Orbison, AKA Pete O'Grady, is not a selector as many have come to understand the term. He first emerged in the late '00s as a producer alongside a wave of dubstep-influenced UK artists. He made an immediate impact—2009's "Hyph Mngo," from his debut EP, was a ubiquitous dance floor hit. O'Grady has steadily made music since—much of it bass-heavy house and techno, mostly coproduced by Boddika. In recent years, however, he's become equally renowned for his DJing, as comfortable playing unreleased, throbbing UK techno at summer festivals as he is playing leftfield cuts in intimate clubs. (A 2016 podcast for Dekmantel shows both styles—and several others—at play.)
The latest Selectors compilation purposefully reflects O'Grady's UK heritage. (He's the first British contributor to the series.) Where previous editions—from Motor City Drum Ensemble, Young Marco and Marcel Dettmann—have represented particular sounds or eras, O'Grady's focus is geographical. He pulls tracks exclusively from British artists, several of whom are lesser-known. The airy digital soul of "Heartbreaker," from 1989, was made by Toyin Agbetu, a prolific producer of soul and dance tracks through the '80s and '90s. (He's now a social rights activist and filmmaker.) "One For Da Laydeez," a Rephlex-released cut by JP Buckley, AKA Jason Buckle, comes from an artist who went on to work alongside Jarvis Cocker, as Relaxed Muscle, and wrote songs for The Pretenders and Marc Almond.
Selectors 004 also includes more familiar UK dance music touchstones. Artwork, AKA Arthur Smith, surfaces here under his Santos Rodriguez alias—most, of course, will know him better as one-third of dubstep group Magnetic Man, or via his association with the dubstep institution Big Apple Records. "Road To Rio A2" is a dizzying techno tool far removed from, say, Let Go Of This Acid, released earlier this year. R. Solution's "Skinny Long Git," a 1991 track from Reinforced Records, is a bleep-era precursor to the hardcore and jungle with which the label became synonymous.
O'Grady doesn't neglect the present, either. James Massiah's "You Ain't Got To Go Home" is a spoken-word ode to house parties and one-night stands. Klein's "Arrange" captures her distinctive DIY brand of R&B-influenced experimentalism, all pitch-shifted vocal samples and irregular drum patterns. "Curl," from Beatrice Dillon, builds curiously, its constituent parts gradually coming together into a chugging, machine-led groove. As with past Selectors releases, the compilation isn't without its pricey Discogs wantlist staples. But it's more than a collection of in-demand records. In looking to various reaches of UK club music history, Selectors 004 highlights a musical heritage that O'Grady's clearly spent many years, as a DJ and record collector, getting to know.
01. James Massiah - You Ain't Got To Go Home
02. Nemesis - Heartbreaker
03. R. Solution - Skinny Long Git
04. Beatrice Dillon - Curl
05. Bitstream - Vic Twenty
06. Oblivion - Lush
07. L.E. Bass - Strive (Survive Mix)
08. Stylistic - People (Original Mix)
09. Santos Rodriguez - Road To Rio A2
10. JP Buckle - One For Da Laydeez
11. Klein - Arrange