PopMatters is moving to WordPress. We will publish a few essays daily while we develop the new site. We hope the beta will be up sometime late next week.

Scuba: Triangulation

Photo: Jimmy Mould

Triangulation finds common ground for dark house, garage, and dubstep amid a vastly compelling brew of melody and jarring flourishes.



Label: Hotflush Recordings
US Release Date: 2010-03-23
UK Release Date: 2010-03-22
Label website
Artist website

Never short on atmospherics that essentially reproduce a night in a shuttered subway station, Paul "Scuba" Rose's shapeshifting tracks are in a class of their own. While his 2008 debut full-length A Mutual Antipathy is largely powered by bulky half-step rhythms and glacial chord changes, it's one of the first documents to map out the dubstep-techno meld on the mind of more than one producer back then. The terrain covered on Mutual is strewn with whirling samples and manipulated field noise, as Scuba tends to dress every recording with layers of oddly positioned sonics. Two years later, his equally subterranean Triangulation is guided by an even more prominent relationship with techno. And although the same attention is paid to ambiance this time around, Triangulation's accentuated dark house, drum 'n' bass, and garage land further from Mutual than they do the celebrated dubs and remixes that followed his breakout album.

Triangulation convulses with jittery breakbeats, and its downtempo moments are abundant with ghostly nuances. Indeed, the sound fragments tunneling through this set play as big a role as the distinctive drum programming and progressions do. Even amid the mass of tentative drones that introduce the album -- "Descent" (obviously) -- rustling clashes punch in and out before the chilly techno branded "Latch" makes its entrance. Scuba blends each track to the next, and when adjourning synth trails or radiant, swelling chords don't slip into the front end of a subsequent entry, it's vinyl crackles and random room noise. This pacing and mixing mastery, marked recently by Sub:Stance (featuring Triangulation's "Minerals" and pre-LP single "You Got Me") or the Mnml Ssgs mix under Scuba's SCB moniker, offers hypnotizing, cinema-sized afterburn.

With releases such as the Speak 12-inch on Naked Lunch, Scuba has cleared a passageway through garage, dubstep, and techno that's littered with abrupt smashing sounds, diced vocal samples, or varying levels of tape machine hiss. Since 2003, the string of trailblazing releases on his Hotflush label (outings from Mount Kimbie and Joy Orbison have garnered inexplicably broad-reaching acclaim) promises nearly the same rewarding playback experience, if not exactly the pronounced experimentalism expected under the Scuba name. The producer's move from London to Berlin in 2007 was in order for him to be closer to the breeding ground for techno, but the motherlode of decimated kitchen-sink micro samples in Scuba's work never really allow for clean stretches of beats and brisk, pinched-tight bass rolls to steal the spotlight. This is active, cavernous bass music.

Triangulation's "Three-Sided Shape" contorts in a fashion that's nothing less than psychedelic; the wafting melodies are stunning, with almost disruptive crashes and vocal cut-ups sputtering past Scuba's clamorous percussion arrangement. Even "On Deck", with its direct skwonks, cello-esque stabs, and house beat, is steered away from a proper club track finish. Like "Flesh Is Weak" from Scuba's standout 2009 Aesaunic EP, "On Deck" is ever-busy with claps and bursts of air, down to its closing seconds.

On top of the smoldering, sinister styles he's been exploring for years, Scuba's Triangulation fires vaporous pressure from all sides, with veteran beatmaking at its core. Perhaps the Vex'd remix of A Mutual Antipathy's "Twitch", in all of its well-trafficked, glitzy organ glory, is somewhere on your hard drive. Don't overlook the stark original; it's one of the more fascinating, noisy pieces on Scuba's debut, creaking and rickety with metal coils pinging off its stripped drums. What he's done since then is madness alongside that track, and Triangulation, in its divergent paths, is another monster of a step forward.


Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology and hosting provider that we have less than a month, until November 6, to move PopMatters off their service or we will be shut down. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to save the site.





Laura Veirs Talks to Herself on 'My Echo'

The thematic connections between these 10 Laura Veirs songs and our current situation are somewhat coincidental, or maybe just the result of kismet or karmic or something in the zeitgeist.


15 Classic Horror Films That Just Won't Die

Those lucky enough to be warped by these 15 classic horror films, now available on Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection and Kino Lorber, never got over them.


Sixteen Years Later Wayne Payne Follows Up His Debut

Waylon Payne details a journey from addiction to redemption on Blue Eyes, The Harlot, The Queer, The Pusher & Me, his first album since his 2004 debut.


Every Song on the Phoenix Foundation's 'Friend Ship' Is a Stand-Out

Friend Ship is the Phoenix Foundation's most personal work and also their most engaging since their 2010 classic, Buffalo.


Kevin Morby Gets Back to Basics on 'Sundowner'

On Sundowner, Kevin Morby sings of valleys, broken stars, pale nights, and the midwestern American sun. Most of the time, he's alone with his guitar and a haunting mellotron.


Lydia Loveless Creates Her Most Personal Album with 'Daughter'

Given the turmoil of the era, you might expect Lydia Loveless to lean into the anger, amplifying the electric guitar side of her cowpunk. Instead, she created a personal record with a full range of moods, still full of her typical wit.


Flowers for Hermes: An Interview with Performing Activist André De Shields

From creating the title role in The Wiz to winning an Emmy for Ain't Misbehavin', André De Shields reflects on his roles in more than four decades of iconic musicals, including the GRAMMY and Tony Award-winning Hadestown.


The 13 Greatest Horror Directors of All Time

In honor of Halloween, here are 13 fascinating fright mavens who've made scary movies that much more meaningful.


British Jazz and Soul Artists Interpret the Classics on '​Blue Note Re:imagined'

Blue Note Re:imagined provides an entrance for new audiences to hear what's going on in British jazz today as well as to go back to the past and enjoy old glories.


Bill Murray and Rashida Jones Add Another Shot to 'On the Rocks'

Sofia Coppola's domestic malaise comedy On the Rocks doesn't drown in its sorrows -- it simply pours another round, to which we raise our glass.


​Patrick Cowley Remade Funk and Disco on 'Some Funkettes'

Patrick Cowley's Some Funkettes sports instrumental renditions from between 1975-1977 of songs previously made popular by Donna Summer, Herbie Hancock, the Temptations, and others.


The Top 10 Definitive Breakup Albums

When you feel bombarded with overpriced consumerism disguised as love, here are ten albums that look at love's hangover.


Dustin Laurenzi's Natural Language Digs Deep Into the Jazz Quartet Format with 'A Time and a Place'

Restless tenor saxophonist Dustin Laurenzi runs his four-piece combo through some thrilling jazz excursions on a fascinating new album, A Time and a Place.


How 'Watchmen' and 'The Boys' Deconstruct American Fascism

Superhero media has a history of critiquing the dark side of power, hero worship, and vigilantism, but none have done so as radically as Watchmen and The Boys.


Floodlights' 'From a View' Is Classicist Antipodal Indie Guitar Pop

Aussie indie rockers, Floodlights' debut From a View is a very cleanly, crisply-produced and mixed collection of shambolic, do-it-yourself indie guitar music.


CF Watkins Embraces a Cool, Sophisticated Twang on 'Babygirl'

CF Watkins has pulled off the unique trick of creating an album that is imbued with the warmth of the American South as well as the urban sophistication of New York.


Helena Deland Suggests Imagination Is More Rewarding Than Reality on 'Something New'

Canadian singer-songwriter Helena Deland's first full-length release Someone New reveals her considerable creative talents.


While the Sun Shines: An Interview with Composer Joe Wong

Joe Wong, the composer behind Netflix's Russian Doll and Master of None, articulates personal grief and grappling with artistic fulfillment into a sweeping debut album.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

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