This latest effort from the English-bred garage DJ signed to England’s legendary 4AD gets things off to a quick start with “Labyrinth”, which has an interesting beat to it and sounds a bit like something Fatboy Slim would’ve done in the ‘90s. That’s not a bad thing and with Zomby working on it, it manages to sound fresh and cool in the 21st century.
The second track, “Digital Fractal”, is much better and comes off as a well-formed song with a nice beat and a down-tempo feel, the perfect thing for listening to in the club when it’s time to chill out a bit. Without a doubt, one of the coolest and most chill dance tracks I’ve heard in a while. Zomby seems to be on the chiller side of all the latest dance genres and has not gone all the way like say, Skrillex or even KoRn in the way of dubstep. “Sens” is a quick little two minute blip of a track that has an interesting beat but not much else to it. Perhaps this is why it wound up on this EP of outtakes from Zomby’s most recent recording sessions.
“Skyhigh” has an interesting loop and a beat that sounds like it’s about to collapse at any moment but it just seems repetitive and not in a good way. This is what has happened with most dance music or experimental music over the last two decades—once you hit that repetitive groove that all the people love, then that’s what they stick with for the majority of their career. But unlike all these other groups and DJs, Zomby is willing to try something new and isn’t afraid to try something once to see whether people like it. But if they do, he’s not going to base the rest of his career around it.
“Stargate5” has a clear dubstep influence to it and if you’re one of those people that are getting tired of dubstep, then you may want to overlook this track. But if you’re not, then this track is just for you. The pulsating, repetitive nature of the track is just about enough to drive someone over the edge but unless you’re a certain artist, then dance music like this only sounds good if you’re in a club, not just listening to it on a computer while you do yoga.
The final track on this seven song collection, “Ectaszy/Ecastsys” definitely sounds like a club track from the ‘90s with a beat that sounds like something Roni Size would’ve worked with. In other words, it’s another track that will send those overzealous clubgoers into a fanatical frenzy. It’s clear that even though these tracks are outtakes, Zomby knows how to cater to his fans and give them exactly what they want. So while he’s touring the world, this will satisfy fans until his next go round in the studio. One of the most interesting dance/dubstep collections of the year, without a doubt. For outsiders who aren’t familiar with him, this is as good a place to start as ever could be found.
We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong on the Internet. Please consider a donation to support our work as independent cultural critics and historians. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing and challenging times where costs have risen and advertising has dropped precipitously. We need your help to keep PopMatters strong and growing. Thank you.
// Notes from the Road
"Saul Williams played a free, powerful Summerstage show ahead of his appearance at Afropunk this weekend.READ the article