Listen to this while high: Back on Time by Plug.
Behind the buzz: These are treats from "long-lost" tracks that didn't make genre-spanning pop wizard Luke Vibert's (recording under his drum 'n bass monicker Pluf) celebrated 1996 cult item Drum 'N Bass for Papa and were instead left to ripen a decade and a half for delectation well into different era altogether. Still meaty and beaty or merely another random shovel load in the ongoing Nineties Reclamation Project? The purpose of this column is to ascend a suitable indica altitude and find out.
Today's weed: Blackberry Kush.
Papa's Got a Brand New DAT: These ten joints allegedly come from pristine DAT tapes and sound like it. Fire up "Scar City" and already you're scalp-deep in late-'90s underground club-hopping, complete with whorls of spooky samples, off-kilter vocals, and ragged, nervous beats that stuff the ears like pink Jello while waiving the usual rules from the neck down. "Feeling So Special" is even better, with its wobbling basslines and icy paranoid-peacock sheen. "Come On My Skeleton" is big and doomy and cinematic enough to put much of Paul Oakenfold in deep shade. Alas, most of this record is rather better suited to drinks and ciggies and other clubland vices than weed. So noted, "A Quick Plug for a New Slot" is still trippy enough to invoke that delightful wall-melting sensation, and "Mind Bending" is like Pink Floyd for disco freaks. The title track is another period piece and a bit of a throwaway, as is "Yes Man," but that doesn't mean both aren't perfectly sound pieces of minimum R&B commercial boogaloo. "Drum N Bass" is creepy like a dance floor Apocalypse Now, and the segue into the superbly sunny finale "Flight 70" is masterfully handled. The album ends with a bang and a whimper and both sound equally joyous.
Psychotropic verdict: If you sit in your chair to only one dance record a year, Ninja Tune has your 2012 covered.