Scuba, Aesaunic EP

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[Hotflush Recordings]


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With its irreproachable roster of talent, Hotflush has become over the last couple of years a buy on sight label. Scuba himself has already provided one of the standout moments in dubstep this year with his “Klinik/Hundreds and Thousands” release, while Mount Kimbie’s “Sketch On Glass” emerged to leave critics slack jawed and saliva mawed at its recondite rhythms. Scuba’s new EP, lovingly spread over two slabs of vinyl will further fluster bass heads, encapsulating the breadth of his sound over five tracks ranging from blunt, fathomless ambient through to shimmering half steppers and steely, chrome-plated house.

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The title track plays around in both camps of dubstep and techno; the downwards sloping bass and broken drum kicks easing off to a solid 4/4 beat and propulsive two-shot bass pulse half way through. Atmospheric, slightly mournful tones hang like a thick, low cloud over the rough cut, quick moving granular percussion and coarse, textural undercurrent of sonic debris. “Flesh Is Weak” completely embraces a house/techno aesthetic, releasing long, rounded bass tones and inquisitive, gleaming keys against a wave of breathed sighs and groaning machines. Certainly one of the highlights of the EP, it offers a fresh look at techno which owes a lot to the background ambiance utilized, though probably just as much to the context it’s placed in.

“Reverse” is full of the ebullient flavors that made up the dance floor moments of A Mutual Antipathy. The chord stabs may be pitiless and a sense of doom surrounds the threatening lower end, but a well placed, propulsive melody steeped in classic UK garage midway through saves it from being mired in absolute dread. Scuba heads into experimental and downbeat pastures for the last two tracks on the EP, which rather than serve as some sort of comedown from the main fare, actually beg more repeated listens than everything else on offer. “Golden” is a wash of warm sunlit chords draped over skeletal beats with a pitched up vocal adding further to the garage influence visited on “Reverse.” Here however, it is set in post club environs as the first fingers of light filter over a new day, giving the track an easy, tender feeling to it. “Symbiosis” travels a similar path though is more detached in its execution, the melodies more sullen yet no less emotive. A simply gorgeous ending to a super heavyweight of an EP from a producer who continually sets higher and higher benchmarks with each new release.

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