Dubstep : March Full Album Reviews

It’s been a busy few months concerning dubstep. Here is a little update to keep you informed on what’s been moving about in bass country.

Full Albums :
A few essential full albums, a format that is  clearly gaining in popularity within the ‘scene’, have been unleashed ‘pon the masses already. Here are the ones you should keep your eyes peeled for :

Breakage – Foundation (digital soundboy)
Breakage is one of the hottest artists in dubstep right now. 2009 was a very constructive year for him with a few album teasers, regular twelve’s and remixes released on various labels including his own Digital Soundboy Recordings. But with this full album he really has come forward and nestled himself at the forefront of the dubstep massive.
A few of the dance floor classics released in 2009 ( Hard feat. David Rodigan & Newham Generals, Higher, Run ‘Em Out feat. Roots Manueva etc.) reappear on this full length. But it doesn’t stop there. Foundation and Olds Skool Ting see Breakage reconnect with his drum & bass roots in an enjoyable fashion.
A few more wonderful collaborations ( Vial feat. Burial, Speechless feat. Donnae’o and Over feat. Zarif) make this a very complete and essential full length. My secret favourite though, is the intro track Open Up which is trademark Breakage stuff and will fit in almost any kind of set. The man has also proved he can handle the pressure of performing live and I thoroughly enjoyed him at Untitled! February edition (browse site for event review).

F – Energy Distortion (7even)
F has been a steady value within the techno/cross-over spectrum of dub for the last two years. But this first full length is surprisingly more uplifting than his previous releases. Indeed some tracks even edge towards ‘funky’. A healthy dose of teched out dubstep remains the main ingredient though.
The main pieces on the album are also the stand-out tracks. Energy Distortion was released earlier as a teaser (with an amazing Untold remix on the flip) and Spacewalker was also available on vinyl earlier this year. Hidden gem on the release is the funked out and spacey Shift which merges the styles of artists like Scuba, SYNKRO and  Hyetal. Another interesting and new take on F‘s sound is the track 0907, arguably the darkest track on the album with heavy hints to artists such as Martyn or 2562. Another essential album if you ask me.

Scuba – Triangulation (hotflush)
Scuba is another artist working in the techno/dubstep cross-over field. He is also a guarantee for quality (see his previous full-length, A Mutual Antipathy, 2008). The heavy and obvious synths and melodies of the previous full-length have gradually made way for a more subtle approach. The beat section is both clinical and complex.
Three Sided Shape
and Glance merge solid beats with subtle melodies ever so effortlessly. Lights Out takes a slower approach but the complexity of the soundscapes is staggering. Minerals is the exact opposite as the rhythm of this track works in a hypnotizing fashion. Finally, there is still room for experimentation on this album, as So You Think You’re Special touches drum & bass ethics with female vocals added to the mix. Not a single weak point on this album and yet again an essential purchase for 2010.

Various Artists – Deep Medi Releases Vol. 1 (deep medi musik)
This is the first collector CD for the deep medi musik label (run by Mala of course).  Volume 2 to follow later this year. For anyone who’s been into dubstep for more than a few years, none of these tunes will be new. Most of them are out of print classics so this is the perfect occasion to finally get your mitts on some dubstep legend. Disoc Rekah, Kalawanji and Changes need to be in everyone’s discography. Long forgotten classics such as Dally and Babylon timewarp by Skream‘s brother Hijak also make an appearance. And finally, Goth-Trad‘s first two releases for the label are also included. I can’t wait for volume two featuring my favourite Deep Medi release : Geddeon/ Face Melt by Tunnidge. Deep.

Vex’d – Cloud Seed (planet mu)
Three or four years in the making but finally it is here : the follow-up to 2005’s Degenerate. It’s better to let this beast of an album just speak for itself. If you aren’t familiar with Vex’d, get on them now. Essential piece of dubstep history. The bass and epic soundscapes will not be for the faint of hearted though. Perhaps this new album though, is just a little bit more accessible than its predicates.
Take Time Out feat. Warrior Queen is a shaky start to the album in my opinion, but after this it’s all goodness.
Slug Trawl Depths brings the intricate and trademark Vex’d onslaught. The soundscapes of Oceans teleport me into far and unknown realms. Out of the Hills is a sober yet perfect blend of all the influences that have shaped this duo’s sound over the years. Dispositions feat. Jest even merges hip-hop successfully  into the mix. There’s also a new version of the classic track Killing Floor to be enjoyed.
Other than the aformentioned highlights, there’s still plenty more : a collab with Anneka ( who herself is quickly rising through the dubstep ranks) for one is a very interesting undertaking.
The album really is a journey into the crushing depths and epic peaks of dubstep’s history. Again, essential purchase.

Out, hope you enjoy it.

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