Scuba, Triangulation (Interpretations)

[Hotflush Recordings]


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Released earlier this year, Scuba’s sophomore album Triangulation was an atmospheric meditation on deep dubstep and Berlin techno. Spacious and varied, it succeeded in progressing from the IDM-inflected A Mutual Antipathy and built upon the fantastic series of EPs Scuba released towards the end of 2009. To further explore the wide-ranging bass music scene, the Hotflush boss has enlisted a cadre of remixers for Triangulation (Interpretations). For the most part these remixes eschew atmosphere for energy, and in that way this collection hearkens back to the origin of remixes — the extended club mix version of popular tunes. Whether it’s increasing the BPMs or shifting the style of a tune, each remix transforms the original into a worthy variation.

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“Before” gains two different remixes here, the first of which, “Before (After),” is by Scuba himself. Whereas the original was an almost glacial hip-hop burner, the new version revises the the drums, moving them up in tempo and coating the track in a windy ambient haze. Now its repeated vocal phrase floats in a bed of harmonics instead of buried under bass and melody. The second version of “Before” is by Deadboy, who keeps the melody almost in intact ableit at a slower pace and flips the percussion into a minimal garage workout. On Triangulation, “Latch” was one of the most submerged tracks, with a thick cloud of grit over the quiet melody and techno percussion. On Will Saul and Mike Monday’s version, the remixers turn the tables on this dynamic and put a newly invigorated house beat front and center, looping the atmospheres so they echo throughout the track.

Surprisingly, FaltyDL takes “On Deck” and pushes the heavy techno number into a more subtle funky track. The almost acid-sounding synth of the original is gone, replaced by a leaner melody of piano and reverbs. The drums swing a little further with syncopation, giving the impression of a drastically different song. Scuba next reexamines his own “You Got Me,” which appeared first as an ever-changing chameleon of a track, the melody moving through several phases of variation. His “You Got Me (I Got You)” version is much more playful, with a livelier synth that is pushed up a few octaves and brings back the old rave feeling of euphoria. The tribal “Tracers” gets a remix from Deadbeat who expands the track to almost twice it’s length for a minimal techno epic. It’s only towards the end that the original melody creeps in, sitting under several layers of effects. It’s a bold departure from the original, where the obvious thing would have been to make it more mental in a remix. By taking a step back, the track becomes more nuanced and surprising.

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My personal favorite track of Triangulation has always been “So You Think You’re Special,” so I was especially keen to hear what Joe would do with the track. A producer with an immense amount of exposure this year and who great things are expected of, he changes Scuba’s original torch song into a somewhat melancholy funky track, with an unexpected looping piano chord and some synthetic bass slaps. Nowhere to be found is the diva vocal or echoing percussion of the original, making this song a wholly new invention. Triangulation (Interpretations) continues Hotflush’s solid year of releases by hewing close to Scuba’s vision for the label as a place for music that doesn’t fit into any one genre, but rather encompasses them all.

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