RSS feed RSS Twitter Twitter Facebook Facebook 15 Questions 15 Questions

CD Feature/ Cardopusher: "Mutant Dubstep vol. 2"

img  Tobias

At first, every new genre is founded on ideas. Ideas about a sound. Ideas about production and about structure. Ideas on rhythm and the interaction between different percussive elements. Once a style has established itself, however, the priests of purity come in with their rules, their formulas and their dogmas. Even Dubstep, in itself one of the more open and unrestricted concepts to develop from the English underground over the past few years, has entered a cul-de-sac of lately, with its progressive edge leaning towards rave and its fundamental branche withdrawing into a sceletised torso – a sort of drawn-out solo for tribal Drums and obnoxious Bass so to speak.

While „Mutant Dub Step Vol. 2“ is not necessarily a call for arms or a revolutionary move away from the principles of the genre, it firmly emphasises the thought that it is creative energy rather than predefined building blocks which have raised its profile. Opening track „Toothsmasher“ concisely encapsulates this strategy: A stuttering sequencer line, repeating each tone twice as it fights it way up a narrow flight of stairs before crashing down again, opens the show by dancing a close-up Salsa with tribal toms and a punctuated Bass line. The relentless tempo is quickly replaced by a momentuous halfstep beat, which seems to slow down even more as it gradually stripps down to its bare skin. All major themes have now been introduced and as the tune continues, Cardopusher's Luis Garban juxtaposes them in ever-changing constellations or mixes elements from each passage into surprising new segments, turning a highly modular kind of music into a cyclonal wirlwind of semtex combinatorics.

Apart from making clever use of his motives, two other techniques are at the heart of Garban's approach: Firstly, treating his stubborn melodic lines very much in the same vein a Pop producer would a voice. Thanks to a generous use of reverb and an airy fleet-footedness, they attain an anthemic volume and a flexible volubility, drawing in the listener through their playful, bubbly charm while contrasting nicely with the deep roar underneath. And secondly, his insistence on finding arrangemental solutions within the Dubstep segment itself. Even though technoid stabs are clearly discernible on several tracks here and despite Dub playing an invariably essential role, „Mutant Dub Step Vol. 2“ not even once plays the cross-over game many colleagues seem to enjoy so much. On „Collapsible Shelter“, soft echoes sweetly recline on garrish subsonics and in the heavenly coda, swelling pads conflate with a tender, almost naive Piano pattern. Pieces still rely on few tracks at a time, but Garban eschews strict minimalism in favour of a sound which is rich enough to shelter twists and turns whenever deemed necessary – even on the most hardcore work to be found here, the floorshaking „Cockpit“.

The two remixes contained on the EP, courtesy of Garban's compatriot Pacheko and UK-based producer Innasekt, take a more straightforward approach while integrating elements from adjacent styles in a very organic way; Innasekt proving how fruitful the club-oriented liaison with the stem cell of the entire genre, Jungle, can turn out to be and Pacheko coming up with a tongue-in-cheek reference to electro. It is a feat common to all contributions, however, that they do not simply consider using these quotes and allusions as integrating externalities – but as stretching the fabric of imagination to the max to arrive at music which is based on ideas, not rules and regulations.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Cardopusher
Homepage: Spectraliquid Records

Related articles

NeuHuman: "NeuHuman"
Getting the damn-near-impossible done: Massive ...
DJ Rupture & Matt Shadetek: "Solar Life Raft"
Always on the brink: Friendly ...
CD Feature/ Moogulator: "The Digital Anatomist Project"
Spacey afterthoughts: Crushes comparisons under ...
CD Feature/ Ebola: "Mutant Dubstep Vol 1"
Hints at humour: Like watching ...
Steppas Delight
History being made: A compilation ...
Gabriela Montero: Live in my Living Room
After infusing the entire classical ...
Making Zeus dance
Music, photography, video clips and ...
Beyond Politics
Drew McManus replies to our ...
A Classical Society?
The future of Classical Music ...

Partner sites