With such a wide and diverse catalogue, On-U Sound took a curatorial approach to presenting the music it produced from an early stage, issuing keenly-priced compilations of highlights from the catalogue including alternate mixes of tracks that couldn’t be heard elsewhere, and sometimes completely exclusive tracks.
The Pay It All Back series started in 1984 and has now got up to six volumes. Chainstore Massacre from 2009 continues in this tradition with a selection of new and previously unissued On-U productions.
Several compilations have been issued to celebrate notable anniversaries in the label’s history, perhaps one of the best examples being the Roots Of Innovation.
Adrian Sherwood’s restless exploration of the possibilities of dub is arguably the backbone of the On-U Sound, and this is well represented by the two Reggae Archive volumes and the Disco Plate collections, which round up some of the initial releases in the labels long-running series of 10” EPs.
In 2015 a new series was minted with the release of Sherwood At The Controls Volume 1: 1979 – 1984, an overview of some of the productions and remixes the On-U mainman had been involved with in the early part of his career, both for On-U Sound and other labels. Demonstrating the breadth of artists and musical styles that Adrian has turned his hand to, it features The Fall, Shriekback, The Slits, Maximum Joy and more.