Close Encounters

Various Artists

Nothing like some friendly competition to bring out the best in you. Island Earth, home to Villebillies, Bass Drum Aliens, Josh Woods and their affiliates, teams up for the inevitable “crew” record, and surprisingly, turns out some of the strongest material any of the individual acts have made in their careers. It appears to largely reflect on their newest arrival, Josh Woods, who features on seven of 18 tracks, with BJ Young producing eight. Outside features are at an absolute minimum, with T-Razor claiming two spots, on the laid-back “Summertime 2013” and the Fela-sampling “Smoke Sum’n.” That the jacking of “Water No Get Enemy” doesn’t come off as sacrilegious here should establish a baseline of the quality we’re talking about. If Island Earth maintains this level, start making shelf (or hard drive) space now. Well done.