various artists: Voodoo Death Breaks

various artists
Voodoo Death Breaks

THE RUSH YOU get listening to compilations of frequently sampled breakbeat sources comes from hearing something you thought couldn't have possibly come from anywhere emerge from someplace very specific. Realizing, again and again, that those snare whacks, horn bleats, or vocal fragments are puzzle pieces that once really did belong to a full painting is an addictive exercise. And recently a host of CD compilations have tried to capitalize on that experience, most merely recompiling the selections featured on Streetbeat's late-Eighties Ultimate Breaks & Beats series--the best example being Rhino's Kurtis Blow Presents the History of Rap Vol. 1.

But Ultimate's real successors are a flurry of new semilegal vinyl collections modeled upon it, with Voodoo Death Breaks the best among them. Featuring the six original tracks that Afrika Bambaataa mixed into the primitively recorded "Death Mix" 12-inch in 1983, Voodoo performs the near-impossible task of adding a new kick to this rapidly fading genre of reissue. For one thing, few of these oldies have been widely collected anywhere, and for another, they're all first-rate. "Funk It Up," by something called the Rock City Band, or Delight's "Get Up and Dance," or Samantha King's "Take a Chance," not only will prick the ears of longtime hip-hop fans but get your party started in seconds. That was, after all, the goal of the DJs who discovered these forgotten gems the first time.

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