Spatial, Infra002 EP


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We humans typically deal with space in terms of the three dimensions most readily apparent to our senses– length, width, and height. If theoretical physicists like Brian Greene and Lisa Randal — whose respective bestsellers The Elegant Universe and Warped Passages helped usher the wacky nomenclature of superstring theory into the late night stoner blather of an entire generation — are to be believed, the universe might actually require something like eleven to function properly. You can’t really blame the sizable demographic of dubsteppers, each competing tooth and nail to get their bass jams out of a DJs distended record bag before the other dude’s, for ignoring the extra dimensions we remain more or less oblivious to in favor of amping up the big three. Aptly-named twostepper Spatial, however, has not forgotten those knotted-up pockets wherein only the most esoteric matter tingles. Across both sides of his second 10″ for the fledgling Infrasonics imprint, Spatial refuses to just pile up slab after slab of wide-assed bass, breakdown and call it a single. What results might be too subtle to achieve dubstep anthem status, but damned if it won’t make your monitors wobble across axes you might not normally consider.

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First out of Spatial’s high-energy accelerator, “90121” feels like an experiment without being fundamentally experimental. Drawing on a sound palate not unfamiliar to followers of 2562 or Headhunter, Spatial fires his taut tambourines, panned snares, and sheets of laser dub squarely at an unassuming pulse of bass drum. Opening up the possibilities of the simplest beat through the introduction of new rhythmic patterns is hardly a press-stopping musical development, and in the wrong hands such an exercise might feel overly academic. But Spatial, bottling up the cumulative energy of his sonic collisions into an ecstatic female yell on the downbeat, teases some genuinely funky interplay out of his lab report. I sense a touch more plotting in the prickly “90113.” A dubstepping bass line shapes something linear out of the sound design Spatial let rip on the A-side, and repeated warped piano stabs inject drama before the bass drops out near the end of the track’s first third. Despite the insistence of the low end, it’s the jittery, pressure-cooked hi-hats up top that truly impress. Like a magnetic field, they hold dancers firmly at the gravity-devoid center of these extreme ends of the sonic spectrum. But with “90113”‘s absence of an assertive mid-range, dancers will find plenty of room to let the track push, tug, tickle and massage them across the floor. Scientists strive for elegant solutions, and Dr. Spatial appears to be onto one for body moving. I greatly await the next formula to fly off of the Infrasonics blackboard.

Slipdress  on July 9, 2009 at 7:38 AM

This is really really really nice.

Chris Burkhalter  on July 9, 2009 at 8:10 AM

This is one of those cases where the full-length sample really pays off. Lovely stuff that I’d previously overlooked…

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