Scuba/Dissident, Remixes

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Scuba’s dubstep productions couldn’t be more different from SCB’s techno. SCB is direct, magisterial in expression to the point of being sensually shocking, at times even overpowering. In contrast, Scuba’s dubstep is among the most understated in the game. His synths feel like the ghostly remnants of his peers’. The feeling transmitted by his gelid tracks is a curiously neutral one, which nevertheless deepens on every listen, while keeping obvious emotional content just the far side of the veil. D-Bridge has, in the last year or two, showed himself to be every inch the technical equivalent of Paul Rose, but his productions speak a different language. They are self-consciously charming, and aim to seduce and cudgel you onto the floor in equal measure. D-Bridge’s remix of Scuba’s “Tense,” therefore, is a brave experiment. The controlled tech of the original is upswung into an extended DnB shuffler, driven by a familiar “Amen” breakbeat. This is the case of what can happen when two highly distinctive producers make a brave choice in mix/remix pairing, and don’t compromise on their usual aesthetics: a muddle.

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On the flip, the problem is pretty much the same: Kontext — operating here as Dissident — makes sounds that shouldn’t fit together glide down your ears (or on a big system, your windpipes) smoothly and without complaint. Headhunter takes sounds that just do belong together, and flexes his reduced grooves along their surface. The combination of the two approaches, on Headhunter’s remix of Dissident’s “Society of Silver Skeletons,” is an extraordinary study in rhythmic discipline and the position and counter-position of controlled tonal elements into broken traces of melody. Listening to this is rather like trying to remember a few things from last night in the club and not quite succeeding. Which is fun. I’m all for aesthetic experimentation, but fundamentally there is a basic problem alongside these strengths: the off-kilter vibe might be great as a passing moment in a mixed set, but there is no real evolution as the track plays out. “Society of Silver Skeletons,” unfortunately, goes out on the same slightly lugubrious handshake it came in with. Four of the most consistent producers making broken beats today have therefore assembled a whole less than the sum of its parts here. At the very least put this one in the noble failures pile.

Andrew Ryce  on May 27, 2010 at 11:32 PM

I found this one pretty boring, this review nails why almost perfectly. Solid production values but they don’t really go anywhere.

JadedEvan  on May 28, 2010 at 1:30 PM

Have to agree with Andrew Ryce on this one – sounds great but isn’t all that interesting. No dynamics, nothing for my ear to get excited about.

Emily  on June 3, 2010 at 3:37 PM

Have to agree with Andrew Ryce on this one – sounds great but isn’t all that interesting. No dynamics, nothing for my ear to get excited about.

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