Described as ‘post-digital dub’ to someone who likes a bit of dub was certainly intriguing. Taking standard dub and recreating through analogue, this album also has a dark, macabre feel too. Not for the fainthearted, some may find heavy listening, but, this really ‘clicked’ with me.
Dutch producer, D.E.A.D., is said to be the pioneer of doom dub, but, is his difficult second album actually any good? Er, yes.
This is an instrumental album, which I like, it makes the music speak for itself. Opener, Pong Yang, sets the tone. It’s a challenge on the ears. Twenty-First Century dub in my view (and maybe even Twenty Second!). There are certainly overtones in the direction of On U-sound productions from the 80s (proving how far ahead of its time the label was/is), and, possibly Mark Stewart circa Learning To Cope With Cowardice. The sound is clean.
Lead track, Microwave, has one of those hooks that won’t let go of you. Sometimes sounding offbeat, sometimes made-up on the spot. Its originality is its brilliance, with its vintage cop-show hook and enough analogue bass and blips and beeps to keep me happy.
The instant reggae feel of The Root Of All is wondrous. Again, an instantly unforgettable hook. Dubs that start then seem to get cut-off before they finish. A sharp clinical drumbeat. Yes, this is post-dub for me, taking the genre on to the next level. Very clever.
It’s when we get to Pookie that things get a little weirder. Less of the dub, much darker – one for a modern day horror film. Not one for your Granny, unless she particularly likes music that sucks the life out of you. Slow and darker than a crow in a coalmine. I bloody love it! Looping, slurs of trailing monotone – and a bassline line to vibrate you to the core.
Air Glue is stranger still, more experimental. A constant swirling like a off-centre spinning top trying to emulate fingernails scratching down a blackboard. You don’t need to take drugs if you’re listening to this track. A slow, inventive piece. Brilliant in its weirdness. Dubs and mis-timed drumbeats. I’ve never taken drugs, and to be honest, I don’t need them whilst there are tracks like this around.
And, as you wonder where the album could possibly go next for the final track there’s Black sounding like an acutely speeded up version of Air Glue. I could be wrong, but, the visit to Death’s Disco at 3am in the morning is a welcome one. Waking you up and wishing you hadn’t.
I haven’t heard an album and as original as this for ages. Is it too late to get Father Xmas to bring this to me?
Published in Louder Than War 11/12/12 - http://louderthanwar.com/d-e-a-d-s-t-i-l-l-d-e-a-d-album-review/