Label: Stroboscopic ArtefactsScore: 8/10
Dadub are a slightly unusual duo in that they clearly care a great deal about the integrity of the sounds in the music that they publish but also completely eschew more traditional analogue instrumentation. Instead they work entirely from digital sources crafting electronic compositions with a concern for traditions of dub music.
The effect is immediately arresting. Dadub’s latest offering “You Are Eternity” opens with sounds which, while just about recognisable don’t quite register in the normal way. The cello drone retains all of the subtle resonances of a real instrument but gives an impression that the sound wave might’ve been mapped out by a programmer. Similarly woody windchimes bubble as though blown by wind but what comes across lies somewhere between real and artificial. The opening track vibration closes by transforming from almost beatlessness to a determined throb before fading out.
“Truth” incorporates political voice samples. These are well selected and, in featuring questioning rhetoric rather than overt statement avoids the danger of coming off smug. The first of many distinct dubbed out beats here is still taking it easy, feeling out the corners of the cavern which Dadub have chiseled out.
Things edge into more maximal territory in “life”. The beat gets a little bigger but drama is provided with articulate build ups and break downs.
“Path” shifts energy an increment more before “Circle” (featuring Edit Select) provides the first 4/4 of the album. The repetitive techno is overlaid with ambient noise which progresses and morphs naturally. The sedated feel continues through “Death” before “Transfer” (featuring King Cannibal) unleashes a powerful industrial monster. “Arrival” emerges from the turmoil into fuelled quasi drum and bass. Transfer in particular almost risks losing the impression of subtlety induced by the first half of the album. The consistency of purpose, however, holds fast and doesn’t stall the experience. There is nevertheless a release from anxiety relief as “Arrival” comes to a close.
The final four tracks bring a stark contrast in energy; eventually slowing down to the closing “Iridescent Fragment”, an eight minute beatless gem. “Existence” is also quite a highlight as the hazy reverb that looms over the majority of the record is lifted for the longest period here. Sounds are a little more pure and intricacies are more audible. Space also closes down here feeling a lot more intimate after subjecting the listener to so much space for the rest of the record.
The drop out into this final section might have felt very sudden and forced but, again, the atmosphere existent from the initiation keeps grasp. Finding a way to marry the two extremes must have taken a good deal of thought but the achievement of “Unbroken Continuity” is greatly appreciated.
This effect of continuity is maybe comparable to what might be achieved by always recording live in the same space. Beat structures, aggression, dynamics & tempos all vary wildly throughout but the landscape impression it generates is constant.
I’ve alluded quite strongly to how impressive I found the construct of this album as a single piece of work and it really is a joy to listen to because of this. The darkness will make it a little inaccessible but this is an ambitious project expertly carried out and for those willing to give it the time a fascinating and rewarding experience.
Dadub’s ‘Your Are Eternity’ is out now on Stroboscopic Artefacts