Friday, 19 March 2010

Scuba - Triangulation [Hotflush]

Bloc-related extended break over - normal service shall resume from this point onward.

Scuba's long-awaited new album Triangulation is due out on Monday, and it's as compelling as expected from the man who made 'Negative' and 'Aesaunic'. Along with Shackleton's Three EPs and Peverelist's Jarvik Mindstate, it essentially represents the pinnacle of the dubstep/techno interface - binding more obvious traits of the latter to a peculiarly UK-centric sense of nostalgia and warmth.


"Perhaps as a result of his time spent within Berghain’s monstrous halls, follow up
Triangulation displays more immediate dancefloor heft, but also hides greater riches in its rarely explored dark corners. The most notable difference is the further prominence of his home city’s sonic hallmarks. Whilst in 2008 A Mutual Antipathy remained in thrall to London, in 2010 it’s as if Berlin has fully seeped into all the cracks of Scuba’s music, becoming as crucial to its current incarnation as the UK was to its last. A large portion of Triangulation is given over to heaving slabs of pristine dubby techno – this time the closest relatives of tracks like ‘On Deck’ and ‘Tracers’ are local legends like Marcel Dettmann and Shed, as opposed to Digital Mystikz or Loefah. This proves to be a welcome evolutionary development, the oceanic sub-bass of ‘You Got Me’ carving out wide-open spaces for the rest of his music to operate with greater pace and rhythmic consistency than before.

But all of this having been said, it’s the connection to dubstep that continues to define Scuba’s music. If it weren’t for the crackle and hum of London’s ghosts, these tracks would likely remain tied to a teutonic rigidity. Instead they positively effervesce with barely restrained energy and an infectious unwillingness to sit still for more than a few seconds at a time. Like his career-high recent single for Naked Lunch, ‘Negative’, many of Triangulation’s finest moments resurrect and electrify the skeletal shapes of two-step – both the phantom garage of ‘Latch’ and the woodblock beat of ‘Tracers’ rebuild its sexy swing for a new generation. Most startling are his excursions into half-tempo Autonomic drum‘n’bass - the glacial ‘So You Think You’re So Special’ initially comes across as little more than an interlude, but closer listens reveal it to be the human heart beating at the album’s core. At its centre a tantalisingly brief female vocal drifts in space, suspended between cascades of white noise and implied junglist percussion, rising and falling before simply fading away."


Full review written for Drowned In Sound.

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