Like all good compilations this release from London’s Blank Mind label provides a portal into a musical world that you probably never knew existed. I’m not sure even the artists included here knew it existed either which shows the power of an expert external perspective in bringing together previously disparate elements and uniting them under a singular curatorial vision.

The focus here is breakbeat hardcore, a uniquely British invention that I think it’s fair to say probably doesn’t always get the credit it deserves. More often than not it’s unfairly equated with the cheesy quaver ‘happy’ variant that was the soundtrack to a lot of the 90’s mega raves but its earlier more experimental incarnations also formed the blueprint for what went on to evolve into jungle and drum and bass. Specifically it’s the more cerebral, experimental and blissful brand of hardcore from the early 90’s that’s the focus here and listening to these tunes highlights the variations that were beginning to evolve in the sound at that time and would eventually led to that further landmark sub genre splinterring and that gave birth to jungle and drum and bass.

Tracks like DJ Mayhem’s "Inesse" are fascitinaing examples that highlight this musical crossroads by bridging both the worlds of hardcore and drum and bass. When you first start listening to it it the eerie atmospherics and tough choppy drum breaks feel like an early example of the classic industrial edged Metalheadz sound but then out of nowhere drops a classic hardcore loved up, sped up female vocal and you're suddenly reminded you're back at Fantazia in ‘93 not at the Blue Note in ‘95.

The other thing that really stands out is the sheer diversity of sounds on offer here (again musical versatility is not an attribute typically associated with hardcore). Whist all the tracks share a degree of ‘blissfulness’ their route to achieving this state of transcendence varies greatly from the techno roots of Hedgehog Affair’s “Parameters” to the electro informed "Luxury" by Twirl to Techcore's piano house tinged "Xray Xperiments." It’s also worth emphasising some of the extraordinarily beautiful musicality on offer here. If you ever hear anyone dismissing hardcore as uninspired functional dance music (which I'm sure happens quite a lot) then just put Skanna’s “This Way” on the turntable and smugly leave the room.

Lost Paradise: Blissed Out Breakbeat Hardcore 1991-94 does a great job of not only shining a light on a collection of amazing tracks most of us would never normally come across but also in redefining and challenging preconceived views on what hardcore is and, in the process, highlighting it’s importance in the evolution of UK dance music as a whole.

Lost Paradise: Blissed Out Breakbeat Hardcore 1991-94 is released on 25th March on Blank Mind