Diplo Looks Forward and Back With Mad Decent Volume 1

Diplo's new compilation, Mad Decent, Volume 1.
"So this year I realized, if I don't do the stuff I feel like, if I make rules about what I can't do, someone is going to take my rules and fuck it and do it better than me. Someone like will.i.am will do a record that sounds like something I did and sell a million copies. What are we fighting for?" -- Diplo, July 2010

A year on from throwing down his creative manifesto during a Pitchfork interview, it's fair to say Diplo is living his fighting talk. In short, the bangin' beat prince is DJing internationally, taking Major Lazer worldwide while recording a new album (which should drop soon); remixing Kelly Rowland, Robyn, and Sleigh Bells; collaborating with Skrillex; championing Moonbahton; and, of course, being the creative genesis behind two of the biggest radio songs of the year -- Chris Brown's "Look at Me Now" and Beyoncé's "Run the World (Girls)." Whew.

It's equally as exhausting as it is satisfying keeping up, and the days when he was known as "the guy behind M.I.A.'s 'Paper Planes''' seem distant. Behind this all, his Mad Decent crew -- the label he spearheads -- has manifested his postmodern ethnomusicology into compilations documenting dubstep, Moombahton, and reggae, and individually released artists including Depressed Buttons, Dillon Francis, Rusko, Bosco Delrey, and LA DJ Derek Allen.

Even in today's digitally digested and remixed age, it's a sprawling, eclectic, and wide-reaching catalog with the potential for plenty of quality material to be overlooked. The Mad Decent Volume 1 seems somewhat of a digital line in the sand -- a reflection on a frantic year, a glimpse into what might come, and a synergy with the Mad Decent annual block parties, all of which unfortunately are taking place at least a thousand miles from South Florida (the first one is in New York on Saturday, featuring Gang Gang Dance, Zeds Dead, and Claude VonStroke).

The tracks range from those that have become omnipresent banging club tunes, such as Netsky's remix of Rusko's "Everyday," to tracks exclusive to the compilation from familiar artists. Diplo's own contribution, "Horsey," sounds like he is reclaiming the highly durable "Pon de Floor" beat from mainstream radio and filtering it through the reggaeton/Dutch house filter of Moombahton, lacing it with cheesy, synth-laden vocals just, seemingly, because he can and the rules don't matter anymore. What are we fighting for?

Preview the rest of the collection here, and purchase it on Beatport.

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