2562: Unbalance

Unbalance is a standout in 2009 electronica, a exemplar of the magic that happens when music of the past is filtered through the imagination of a truly gifted producer.



Label: Tectonic
US Release Date: 2009-11-10
UK Release Date: 2009-10-19

Dutch producer Dave Huismans flew in from out of nowhere to change the tenor of dubstep in the late 2000s. Beginning in 2007, Huismans released a string of 12” singles and one full-length album under the name 2562, which rejected the oily skank and amateurish techniques of the reigning South London dubsteppers (excluding Burial, naturally) for a sleek, intensely professional design. Initial recordings were spare affairs without much in the way of melody, but 2562 could knock a person out with a beat, forming bits of detritus into artful constructions and then pumping them so full of muscle that they shot like ammunition. As he began to incorporate jungle-inspired melodies into his beat maneuvers, the music became more appealing. His latest singles, Embrace / Hijack and Love in Outer Space, indicated not only that he’d made significant strides forward since his career’s inception, but also that his best material was still to come.

Unbalance delivers on this promise and establishes 2562 as the unequivocal front-runner of dubstep’s movement toward technical precision and aesthetic allure. On a basic level, Huismans simply married the beatwork from the full-length Aerial (2008) with the gooey jazz licks and spectral synths of his irregular second project, A Made Up Sound. Yet the record is much more than a summation of the producer’s history. It improves upon earlier releases’ sophisticated rhythms and makes them sing, their strength and agility balanced out so masterfully that they sound closer to poetry than the emissions of a hot laptop. It blurs the line between jackknifing two-step cadences and the double-time beat, rendering the tracks’ actual speed an enigma. It utilizes a maddening array of instruments and textures in the service of this artist’s newly realized melodic gifts, and mindfully welds them into song structures novel enough from each other to provide constant stimulation.

And then, as if it weren’t enough to pen some of the sickest dubstep tunes imaginable, Huismans edits them into a breathtakingly wide-screen whole that is as much about bringing us on an adventure as it is about creating electricity through nuance. Nowhere is this clearer than the title track, which distills the record to seven transfixing minutes. Synth-strings and hazy sci-fi sound effects meld with the rich chimes of a grandfather clock, setting a cozy mood. The beat arrives two minutes in, and it’s one of Huismans’ best, a seductive, tensile groove that lightly pushes the air around it, as though he were actually playing it with four arms on an electric drum set. It’s a panoramic piece at the center of a larger panorama, where characters like Slam, 4hero, Lawrence, Burial, and Larry Heard float and feint through the highly conceptual expanse. Unbalance offers a view into a future we might want to see, in which past musical loves are reimagined and rejuvenated, spoken in a new language that reveals something profound about what has already been said. Standing on the shoulders of giants, 2562 becomes one himself.






Tim Bowness of No-Man Discusses Thematic Ambition Amongst Social Division

With the release of his seventh solo album, Late Night Laments, Tim Bowness explores global tensions and considers how musicians can best foster mutual understanding in times of social unrest.


Angel Olsen Creates a 'Whole New Mess'

No one would call Angel Olsen's Whole New Mess a pretty album. It's much too stark. But there's something riveting about the way Olsen coos to herself that's soft and comforting.


Masma Dream World Go Global and Trippy on "Sundown Forest" (premiere)

Dancer, healer, musician Devi Mambouka shares the trippy "Sundown Forest", which takes listeners deep into the subconscious and onto a healing path.


'What a Fantastic Death Abyss': David Bowie's 'Outside' at 25

David Bowie's Outside signaled the end of him as a slick pop star and his reintroduction as a ragged-edged arty agitator.


Dream Folk's Wolf & Moon Awaken the Senses with "Eyes Closed" (premiere)

Berlin's Wolf & Moon are an indie folk duo with a dream pop streak. "Eyes Closed" highlights this aspect as the act create a deep sense of atmosphere and mood with the most minimal of tools.


Ranking the Seasons of 'The Wire'

Years after its conclusion, The Wire continues to top best-of-TV lists. With each season's unique story arc, each viewer is likely to have favorites.


Paul Reni's Silent Film 'The Man Who Laughs' Is Serious Cinema

There's so much tragedy present, so many skullduggeries afoot, and so many cruel and vindictive characters in attendance that a sad and heartbreaking ending seems to be an obvious given in Paul Reni's silent film, The Man Who Laughs.


The Grahams Tell Their Daughter "Don't Give Your Heart Away" (premiere)

The Grahams' sweet-sounding "Don't Give Your Heart Away" is rooted in struggle, inspired by the couples' complicated journey leading up to their daughter's birth.


Gloom Balloon Deliver an Uplifting Video for "All My Feelings For You" (premiere)

Gloom Balloon's Patrick Tape Fleming considers what making a music video during a pandemic might involve because, well, he made one. Could Fellini come up with this plot twist?


What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .


Brian Cullman Gets Bluesy with "Someday Miss You" (premiere)

Brian Cullman's "Someday Miss You" taps into American roots music, carries it across the Atlantic and back for a sound that is both of the past and present.


IDLES Have Some Words for Fans and Critics on 'Ultra Mono'

On their new album, Ultra Mono, IDLES tackle both the troubling world around them and the dissenters that want to bring them down.


Napalm Death Return With Their Most Vital Album in Decades

Grindcore institution Napalm Death finally reconcile their experimental side with their ultra-harsh roots on Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism.


NYFF: 'Notturno' Looks Passively at the Chaos in the Middle East

Gianfranco Rosi's expansive documentary, Notturno, is far too remote for its burningly immediate subject matter.


The Avett Brothers Go Back-to-Basics with 'The Third Gleam'

For their latest EP, The Third Gleam, the Avett Brothers leave everything behind but their songs and a couple of acoustic guitars, a bass, and a banjo.


PM Picks Playlist 1: Rett Madison, Folk Devils + More

The first PopMatters Picks Playlist column features searing Americana from Rett Madison, synthpop from Everything and Everybody, the stunning electropop of Jodie Nicholson, the return of post-punk's Folk Devils, and the glammy pop of Baby FuzZ.


David Lazar's 'Celeste Holm  Syndrome' Appreciates Hollywood's Unsung Character Actors

David Lazar's Celeste Holm Syndrome documents how character actor work is about scene-defining, not scene-stealing.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.