A long time ago the land of compilations was ruled by dubious Goliaths such as “Now That’s what I call the Hideous Spawn of Simon Cowell” etc… DJs kept the spirit alive by mixing together their record collections for bootleg circulation. Out of this Soulwax unleashed 2ManyDJs and changed the market, opening up a niche for more discerning and eclectic collections. Portishead‘s Andy Smith now adds to the mix with another volume of his Document series.
Nick Hornby says in High Fidelity that there’s nothing better than putting together a mixtape and Smith relishes the chance to delve into Sanctuary records’ massive back catalouge to come up with the goods.
This volume contains 26 rare(ish) gems with the likes of Muddy Waters rubbing shoulders with early Black Sabbath. Whereas the last volume of this series was predominantly hip-hop driven, VOL III is more of a laid back affair drawing from Smith’s excursion into northern soul territory last year. It’s reminiscient of David Holmes’ similar effort Come Get It I Got It
Smith mixes this disc live and in one take so the mixing idiosyncarises seem to add to the flavour. The detailed sleeve notes are also courtesy of Smith, sharing his personal knowledge of the tracks.
There is a good choice of songs, many of which you would not have heard of (at least not in the form they take here). The Sanctuary archives hold a wealth of choice material and Smith mixes old with new seamlessly. Document III is a sound package and a good “Instant DJ” to slap on to get a party started, but the sum of it’s parts do not add up to the whole. As instant DJ sets go this disc is pretty good, but not essential as the highlights fail to deliver the knockout punch that you feel brewing.
Andy Smith is throwing a couple of launch parties to celebrate the album’s release. One of these will be part of the Notting Hill Carnival as the record lends itself well to the summer atmosphere. But given the choice between pushing through countless crowds and second-hand pot smoke with some lukewarm beer or listening to this at home I know which one I’d prefer. At least the beer will be cold and there’s somewhere to urinate.