No, this isn’t some kind of road to damascus conversion, I just happen to have been given some dubstep tunes that I actually like for a change. I admit this is a surprise after several years of slagging off most of the genre for just not being good enough.
But as usual there are people working at the edges who are doing good stuff. In my own biased way I am still prepared to check stuff out if it is recommended by people I respect or if it’s made or released by people I like. The latter is true here, so the usual disclaimers apply.
Subeena – Boksd/Znare/Pepepe – Agosto Morado /2080 12″ (Imminient IMM004)
We gave Imminent’s previous release by Wagawga a nice review in Woofah, so I didn’t groan when this promo slipped through the letterbox. “Boksd” is a filmic night drive tune which is right up my street. Some of the melodies remind me of slightly melancholic techno like Colin Faver used to play.
“Znare” is much harsher – the opening made me worry about an incoming wobble fest. But my fears were displaced with the arrival of female MC Violet who I think is spitting in Portuguese (the language I have had the most troube with)? Subeena seriously messes with her voice throughout the track, giving it a nice glitchy feel. No doubt this will get played out the most, but despite its undoubted quality it’s my least favourite track on this release.
“Pepepe – Agosto Mordo (Subeena Remix)” – reminds me of the tale of a Czech canary called Pepik which I read to my daughter. Whilst Pepik is flying over the old town of Prague having escaped his cage, he may well hear the odd chiming melody. If you liked Orbital’s more ambienty tracks circa “The Box” then this is for you (it’s not a rip off, it’s just shorthand – I have to finish this entry before the other half shows up in a minute).
“2080” is very special indeed – more great chiming, but this time laid over a great understated crunchy rhythm track.
Subeena knows that you don’t have to smack someone in the face to make an impact – everything here is in the right place at the right time.
Spatial – 80207 / 70810 10″ (Infrasonics Infra001)
I met Mr Spatial at the Highpoint Lowlife Xmas bash I played some records at (and indeed at the previous affair at Shunt). The only word for this is minimal. And abstract. Right, the only two words for this are “minimal” and “abstract”. OK? Even the packaging gives little away, and I had to guess at what speed to play this at (33 and a third, in this house. If you want to do a Paul Meme and play everything at +8 then feel free, but not round here sunshine).
“80207” kicks off with what could be an off key keyboard skank from a classic uk dub tune. But it isn’t, especially when accompanied by a glassy, brittle click track of a riddim. It would be too easy to dismiss this as another Basic Channel lite – I think there is a lot more going on here. The very simple female vocal refrain anchors everything and allows the deceptively simple beats to build up and gain in complexity. Where Subeena uses minimal ingredients to produce a joyful landscape, Spatial is far far colder with his tools. But then, as the good Dr once said, it is cold in Babylon…
“70810” – “is that weird music or is something knocking?”. Well it’s both really. It’s an orchestra stripped of most of its instruments trying to get in, it’s a stoned cosmonaut trying to reconnect to the mothership. It’s…
[at this point the review was terminated so that we could watch “Special Needs Pets” on More4]