Thursday, October 29, 2009

Various, "Five Years of Hyperdub"

There is plenty of like on this massive, 32-track compilation. Start with Samiyam, "Return", and its irregular lurching rhythms that would have fit perfectly on virtually any release from Wolfgang Voigt's dearly departed Profan label. Or Darkstar, "Need You". It features playful, almost carnival-like melodies, and vocoders that Daft Punk would certainly be proud of. It also unites those elements with windy synth passages and sparse ambient noises, making for quite the chilling combination of sounds. Or Zomby, "Tarantula", which takes Juan Atkins mid-80's robo-funk style and strips it down to its barest melody and percussion. Or Martyn, "Mega Drive Generation", an unreleased track that kills virtually anything from his so-so "Great Lengths" LP, with its simple uncluttered percussion and gliding bassline that produces something bizarrely akin to the gentle ebb and flow of minimal techno.

I've never taken much to the music of label boss Steve Goodman AKA Kode9. He's the most "classical" dub artist on his label, but he tends to go overboard in trying to add a spooked-out, creepy feel to his music, and often it's just a bit too much. It was entirely predictable that Kode9 would pen a track called "Ghost Town", as the phrase sums up just about everything his music strives for.

It might be boring and cliche to say it, but what this compilation accomplishes most of all is to show just how far ahead of the pack Burial truly is. It's the sort of obvious revelation you get when you lump one artist's work along with 2+ hours of the best stuff his contemporaries have to offer. I can be nodding along pleasantly to virtually any track on these CD's, but the start of a Burial track suddenly and decisively shifts the mood to an entirely new level of fear and tension.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

ghost town is a cover version of a very famous specials song.