Sandwiched between entries from the Libertines and John Lennon, Cyrus’s “Indian Stomp” found a slot on the soundtrack for the widely released Children of Men film in 2006; next to Kode9 and Spaceape’s appearance in the tracklist, this was a first for the UK-born strain of underground dance music called dubstep. Given the cut’s gloominess and the nature of the film, Cyrus’s mark is a good fit. Frequent dub-heavy atmospherics and doses of bone-rattling software-driven bass characterize the majority of the output from the Bristol, UK’s Tectonic label, as well as the solo debut LP from dubstep producer Cyrus of production crew Random Trio, whose album is the first full-length to be released from the imprint. “Indian Stomp” is sprinkled with tabla and looped Middle Eastern vocals, and isn’t very indicative of the rest of Cyrus’s From the Shadows. The album is grim, sluggish dubstep, at times fitting what’s become an inadequate broad description of the genre. Cyrus prefers stark arrangements, and although they’re quite intriguing, they counter the busy, frequently more interesting experiments on Demons, another anticipated full-length debut from dubstep producer Distance that dropped this year. “Mind Games” boasts Shadows’ bare leanings, with circular whistles and somewhat thin beat snaps before Cyrus’s wobbly bass line enters. This creepiness follows in “Watcher,” an effort that’s more likely to earn repeat listens than anything else here. “Watcher” is stripped and ominous; its monotone looped sub-bass and tumbling beats create tension that is unmatched on the LP, and a spot for it on a contemporary sci-fi film soundtrack doesn’t seem so unlikely.
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// Notes from the Road
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