Tag Archives: dubstep

Review: Delphic – Collections

29 Jan


First things first, Collections is not Acolyte redux. Not even remotely. When announcing the follow-up to their exceptional 2010 debut, the band said; “We didn’t want to make an album that replicated ‘Acolyte’, that more-of-the-same-again approach seems all too abundant at the moment and it doesn’t interest us in the slightest, so we set out to challenge ourselves”.

And challenge, they have for Collections is musically very different, with a much greater emphasis on the beat and almost none on the dance-rock sound that brought them to the dance in the first place. Influences come from all over, as if the guys have spent three years listening to every other musical style out there and choosing which ones to use. It’s a bit of a kitchen sink approach, with hip-hop, overblown future rock, dubstep, banghra, 80’s pop, ballads, dance and many more all evident across the 10 tracks.

While this does serve to show the new diversity of Delphic, we don’t think that a confused ‘huh?’ was the reaction they were hoping to illicit from listeners but for the first couple of spins, but that’s exactly where we found ourselves. It doesn’t have the instant accessibility of Acolyte which hit you square between the eyes from the opening moments of “Clarion Call”, and seems to lack cohesion, it doesn’t feel like a single whole like you would expect an album to.

Evidently though, this is by design, as Rick explained to XFM. “Collections is a collection of songs that don’t necessarily sound the same, which challenges listeners to get out of their boxes. It’s why people have shuffle, so they can hear different songs on their playlists”. So it’s an album that is designed to be listened to in a different order each time?

It’s an interesting concept, to deliberately create an album that isn’t designed to be enjoyed as an album, but one that makes some sense given the public’s predilection for disposable music and preference for downloading singles only. It’s like a less technologically advanced version of Gwilym Gold’s Bronze format which promised listeners they would never hear the same version of a song twice.

So, we decided to give it a spin or two on shuffle and the result was interesting. The lack of cohesion, of a singularity across the music, no longer mattered. We didn’t know what was up next so that randomness, the variety of styles felt fresh rather than confusing. We were able to enjoy the tunes for what they were not for what they didn’t do. “Bayia” felt sexy and energetic; “The Sun Also Rises” like Yeasayer had penned music for a rousing BBC montage; “Tears Before Bedtime”, featuring heartache via voicemail, feels more poignant when it precedes rather than follows “Atlas”, which itself is a multi-headed hydra spitting musical styles like fireballs.

We’d have to say, shuffle is the way forward for Collections, though we are honestly not sure if that is a good thing or not.

Collections is out now and available on iTunes or directly from the band.

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Album Review: Kuedo – Severant

16 Oct

Jamie Teasdale, a.k.a. Kuedo, was doing dubstep way before everyone started to pretend that James Blake had invented the genre. Now the former V’exd member has stepped out and taken dubstep to a new world, a new planet even, in a science fiction inspired epic that is simply astonishing.

1. Visioning Shared Tomorrows
2. Ant City
3. Whisper Fate
4. Onset (Escapism)
5. Scissors
6. Truth Flood
7. Reality Drift
8. Ascension Phase
9. Salt Lake Cuts
10. Seeing The Edges
11. Flight Path
12. Shutter Light Girl
13. Vectoral
14. As We Lie Promising
15. Memory Rain

There is no point wasting anyone’s time, this album is stunning. It’s as simple as that. Severant, as you will soon hear, is heavily influenced by Blade Runner and the sublime beauty of the Vangelis soundtrack that accompanied it. ” I wanted to capture a really futurist sentiment, kind of melancholy and grand luminescent, so I used the instrument that most evokes that for me – that sweeping Vangelis brass sound”, he explains. He nailed it. Like the staccato drums, the brass is almost ubiquitous throughout, swirling and swooping through your ears.

You cannot listen to Severant without being transported to some dark, dystopian future. It consumes you, close your eyes and you can see the spacecraft cruising above the gargantuan, neon encrusted skyscrapers, all while the rain teems down around you. It’s like someone has taken a William Gibson novel and turned it into music, even the track names are like chapter titles.

Vangelis may be the predominant influence, but there are others. Jazz, hip-hop, drum and bass, UK road rap; all have been taken in, broken down and reconstructed to create dazzling, multi-layered soundscapes. When you’re not staring at this wondrous megalopolis you have been transported to, your head will be nodding, the beat taking you round the corner to the next delight.

There is a lot of synth music in the UK right now, there is a lot of dubstep in the UK as well; none of it sounds like this. Nothing even comes close to sounding as intelligent or as complete as this. You could quite easily find yourself lost in Kuedo’s world for quite some time; it’s a great place to be.

Severant is released today on Planet Mu.

Listen: Jamie Woon Remixes Lana Del Ray

6 Oct

There has been a lot of controversy over Lana Del Ray recently, with a lot of people self-harming because they love how she sounds but hate the fact that she might actually be a manufactured act! So she got in some help with her image, who cares? We are all trying to be a brand of sorts these days anyway. From the biggest corporations, to musicians, to the people like us who write about it; we are all trying to get somewhere doing something we love. She is no different.

Anyway, regardless of what marketing expertise she has called upon to transition herself from essentially being someone with some songs and a myspace page to the official hottest thing in blogsville, we like her. We like the style of the videos (even if they are rather samey), we like that downtrodden pout she wears and we do like the music she has put online so far.

We also like remixes, and while Jamie Woon is someone we are yet to fully appreciate, we love his remix of Lana’s “Video Games”. Check it out here and let us know what you think of his dubstep take on the femme fatale of the indie-pop world.