HYPERDUB IN THE AREA
Big thanks to the mighty man like Kode9 for dropping a couple of new Hyperdub twelves in my letter-box. This is a real life-line for someone like me who lives in the rural wastelands of Sarf Somerset. Hyperdub (like you didn't know) is synonimous with quality and forward-thinking, and have forged its own curious path like DMZ, Skull Disco, Tectonic, etc. These have been available on download for a little while, but are just about to drop on vinyl (my favourite medium). There's some short samples of these tunes on Boomkat if you wanna go have a listen. And I recommend ya do.
First up is HDB005 from L.V.
"Globetrotting" is deep and Rootsy-sounding, chat-free, with a slowish loping/lurching/surging bass-rhythm and some sweeeet sufferah vocals from Errol Bellot that strangely put me in mind (in places) of The Heptones. Deceptively simple, but extremely addictive. Hearing this is like bumping into an old friend you haven't seen for a while. There's a fab dub-effect on the word "hits" that sounds like a freakish digital owl-hoot.
The flip "Takeover" features Dandelion (Dan De Lion) from Free King Sound (International) voicing over a serious bass undertow that set my shelves a'rattling. There's an old cinema organ in the mix there somewhere, but it sounds like the tide's come in and it's submerged under 20 foot of water: Blackpool recast as Atlantis. The riddim is languid, but not languid as in lazy...this is self-assured and confident; it knows exactly where it's going, so it's in no rush to get there as it strides down the street with a cool militant swagger (militant! - Lord, I just realised how much I missed militancy; it's like it's been airbrushed from our culture...music that wears a black beret, know what I'm sayin'?)...and there's this weird ratchetty sound I can't place, like a clavinet that's been downpitched until it seems to rub up against itself in a darkened broom-cupboard...and the beats sound like they're sculpted from wood, scalloped in some way like yer mum's old mixing-spoon...Of course, I'm making this sound more science-fiction than it actually is, but this is an excellent piece of darkly-Dread Dub that puts me in mind of a whole bunch of old Seventies favourites...
Both cuts should appeal to old Dubheads, Punks or Reggae fans who lost the faith a while back or who have been distracted by mortgages and school-runs, or are unimpressed by all this new fangled Dubstep stuff, or are put off by the more avant or gnarlier ends of the D/Step spectrum. You can almost taste the smoke in your mouth as the music syncs to yr brainwaves and slowly unravels, the rhythms circling slowly upwards like coils of ganja smoke. Records like this are essential in short-circuiting the different facets of the Nu Dub/Dubstep polyhedron, their inbuilt 'familiarity' helps unite the people who have approached it from different angles, different directions...by highlighting its common ancestral music-forms. I could imagine Yeovil's own Burning Sound Crew happily playing this in amongst the Soul records and Jamaican 7" Pre's and the Oldies and the Greensleeves rhythm-collection CDs .
Dunno who L.V. is/are, I'm afraid, tho a quick google of Martin's Pitchfork column tells me they're a Sarf London four-piece. Maybe someone out there can fill in the pieces for me...
If this all sounds like it harks back to some darkly Golden Age of Dub, then HDB006 is a slab of unaplogetically strident modernist electro-half-step by The Bug:
"Skeng" rolls thru darkened back-streets in a fuck-off black customised armoured golf-kart popping off shots at anyone who even thinks about giving it a funny look. This sounds more like a firing-range than a song. Roll Deep's Flow Dan and Killa P give the listener some serious lip over rolling synth-rumble, echo-finders, clanging cow-bells and shimmering crash-cymbals. A demented Argos catalogue of small-arms bravado ensues. The vocals exist in some weird space of their own...it's as if the music has an acre-wide bubble inside itself: a hyper-enlarged personal space patrolled by its own pit-bull. A sneering, sinister voice tracks the shimmer of its own reverb:
"You don' wanna see me get Evil."
"Shot in the face/make 'im send for the nurse."
"Doctor can't fix yeh/send for the hearse."
It's funny and disturbing and fucking fabulous, and all at the same time.
Flip the disk and Kode9's mix starts off like some super-dense dark-matter Hentai arcade-game sound-track that splinters into micro-blips of sound and rewinds itself across an urban soundfield of slowly-plummeting elevators and rogue, circuit-bent Casios. A dead man's pager suddenly goes off and a mourner shits himself at the funeral.
There's more ideas here than in most people's careers, yet 9 never once crowds out the tune, and somehow makes all this hyper-inventiveness look effortless.