[8 August 2013]
Commodo, resident DJ for Sheffield via Nottingham’s mighty ‘20Hz/RubberDub Soundsystem’ drops his impressive new EP $pace Cash in a flurry of experimental, grime infused dubstep madness for Mala’s seminal bass music label, DEEP MEDi. Informed by a dread laden, eyes down attitude, symbiotically conjoined with his signature tribal percussive treatments, Commodo’s $pace Cash EP manages to straddle and consolidate the traditional sounds associated with the DEEP MEDi imprint with a more experimental, almost hip-hop inspired sonic palette.
Kicking off with surely one of the year’s top grimey dubstep crossovers—the aptly titled “$pace Cash”—Commodo launches straight into a cyberpunk world of epic proportions. An eerie, held organ note, underpinned by syncopated tribal drums ramps up the tension before allowing a deep, murky grime horn bass riff to enter the fray in a barrage of rude, yet restrained aggression. The space so beloved of early era dubstep is replaced by a myriad of found sound, dub flecked sound effects and random rhythmic intonations that goes a long way in proving that dubstep is not dead but is, in fact, just undergoing a bit of a face lift at the moment.
The techie, innovative roller that is “Straight Reptilian” steps up to the plate next, sampling DOOM, lowering the tempo into that of house territory and utilizing a more clinical selection of sounds than the warm, sample heavy opening number. The tune is reminiscent somewhat in the production values associated with some of the more wonky, downtempo sounds that appeared in the wake of J Dilla’s passing. The drums and percussion seems to be unquantized and on occasion wander from the grid giving the groove a lurching, unpredictable nature that is all the better for its inherent weirdness. The cold, clinical, techno ridden bass slithers in and amongst the rolling dubbed out, blunted beats, creating a dark, heavy syncopated house number that blows pretty much everything else (released recently) at this tempo out of the water like a sub hunting destroyer’s depth-charge.
Closing the EP off is the grandiose, regal stylings of “Wish”—a number that although sounding nothing like Skream’s “Midnight Request Line”, channels its magisterial energy and creativity via the use of a neon coloured, mutating arpeggio that dances the tango with the tunes stately string motifs. Its refined and emotive whilst still retaining a fidgety energy and hefty dancefloor punch—a nice way to finish the EP off for sure.
Commodo is definitely one to watch as he is fast becoming a shining beacon in the stagnating UK dubstep scene, combining all manners of incongruent sound sources in an alchemistic witch’s cauldron like some sort of deranged chemist, somehow managing to brew them all up together into a potent experimental grog that recalls the best the genre has ever offered. His use of hip-hop sound sources, especially his choices of filler samples, pads and effects is, to me, a major factor in what gives his music an edge over the more tech-orientated producers in this field. It gives the tracks a warm, full, soulful feel that when combined with his excellent synthetic sound designs distills the whole package down, like a fine whiskey, into something quite special and unique.
All in all $pace Cash is a great EP deserving of all the praise people can and will heap upon it—it’s a great addition to the DEEP MEDi canon and testament to the progressive A&R policies Mala is engaging with at the moment.