Sepalcure, Love Pressure

[Hotflush Recordings]


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When I saw Mala and Skream tag team at Dub War’s fifth birthday party in New York recently, I was struck by how absurd it is that a style that half a decade ago sounded like the height of dance music futurism now plays like a throwback. (Don’t even get me started on how Skream, a guy about six months younger than I, is already a golden oldie. I have a general policy of no existential crises before breakfast.) I think it’s fair to say that since 2005, dubstep has had more ideas than practically any other subgenre. And the debut 12″ from Brooklyn duo Sepalcure, the latest signing to the always-forward Hotflush Recordings, feels like it’s bursting with all of them. The fact that Sepalcure, with their lithe yet woozy beats and watercolor renderings of classic house, played a live set at Dub War just one month before Skream’s and Mala’s subs-rattling dread is another bit of evidence of dubstep’s constant flux. That Sepalcure could turn out such relevant and future-forward music on their first time out bodes very well.

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A collaboration between Percussion Lab founder Praveen Sharma and glitch producer Machinedrum (given name Travis Stewart), Sepalcure simultaneously evokes Joy Orbison on codeine and FaldyDL on adderall: despite recasting floor-ready steppers as a series of late-era Van Goghs, the four tracks on “Love Pressure” sound deeply considered and exceptionally focused. On the title cut and its somewhat wilder A-side partner “Down,” Sepalcure achieve this through energetic yet precise and forceful bass lines that keep a wealth of colorfully textured synthesizers from either evaporating or bounding away. Of the two tracks, the title cut — with its cleverly deep vocal bits and subtle organic percussion — wins the day; while still pretty fantastic, “Down” doesn’t so much bring new ideas to dubstep’s table as re-jigger all of the ones we’ve been hearing for the last year.

On the B, the vibe takes a distinct (and appropriate, for two Brooklyn dudes) turn towards house. “Every Day of My Life” follows the same template as both A-sides but nudges the tempo down considerably. The Logic-sampling “The Warning,” though, feels like an entirely different animal. Trading last year’s purple synths for sweeping, scratchy, shoegazey strings, Sepalcure make both the sample and dubstep entirely their own. It’s a gorgeous finish to a very strong 12″ and another buzz-worthy win for Hotflush, a label that’s been surprisingly quiet this year when label head Scuba isn’t on production duties. With a bounty of new material rumored to be on the way in the coming months, Sepalcure are poised to throw a lot of new ideas at dubstep. We should listen very closely.

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