New Years Eve San Francisco Events
Related Articles: Music, All

Beat Report, Vol. 6

Dub Master Meets Dubstep

Scientist — Scientist Launches Dubstep Into Outer Space
Released by Tectonic Records, 12/6/10
Jamaican dub pioneer Hopeton Brown, best known as Scientist, showcases his immense and enduring talent on Scientist Launches Dubstep Into Outer Space, reworking a slew of heavyweight dubstep cuts from the likes of King Midas Sound, Pinch, Cyrus/Random Trio, and RSD. The untouched originals were top class in their own right and are readily available on the second disc for the curious, but it’ll be hard to stray from Scientist’s expert treatment on the first disc.

This is as fresh as dubstep gets — raw, primal, and made for the floor. Label boss Pinch rates Scientist Launches Dubstep as his “proudest moment for Tectonic to date.” It’s taken the man that bore the beginnings of dub to take dubstep full circle.

Thirty years after the first explorations of the dub sound alongside Cornell Campbell and King Tubby, Scientist is on fire, and he’s as relevant now as he’s ever been.

Shackleton — Fabric 55
Released by Fabric Records, 12/6/10
Shackleton’s always been a bit of a wild card, most noticeably when venturing out from his tower of isolation to play for a crowd or record for a new label (last year’s release on Perlon was a bit of a strange one). We had the pleasure of witnessing him on the decks at Club Six earlier this year, and were eager to hear a set resembling anything from the brilliant, now-defunct Skull Disco imprint. His set fell a bit short, however, comprised mainly of tedious tribal rhythms that left many in the audience wary and wondering.

I suspect the man’s more a musician than a live DJ, and the forthcoming Fabric 55 is testament to that — here we see his production is at its finest, a strange brew that succeeds in summoning our darkest recesses in mere minutes. A sinister scrapbook of new, old, and reworked material, Fabric 55 is heavy on his trademark simmering rhythms and soul-destroying bass lines, but this time scattered with cut-and-paste incantations, pitch-bent analog and the occasional dance beat.

Stitched together with the intuition and skill so evident throughout his Skull catalogue, this is a decidedly self-centered release, and one of the best Fabric compilations of recent years. Having admitted in an interview with Resident Advisor that “no, not everybody’s going to like it,” it’s evident Shackleton’s doing as he pleases here, and it’s when he embraces this sort of disregard that he produces his best work.

Hironori Takahashi with nAX_Acid — Gaia’s Archetype EP
Released by Aconito Records, 11/22/10
There’s little known of Hironori Takahashi apart from his usual residence at Shinjuku vinyl destination Disk Union, but the man’s been a prolific contributor to the tech-house sound this year. His most recent effort is Gaia’s Archetype EP, an exploration of “contrasting unity — light and dark, human and nature.”

The propulsive mechanics of “Outgass” recalls T++ at his finest, here met by ethereal, timeless synths flooding otherwise broody sonic lowlands with warmth and cosmic wonder. This omnipresent, celestial sentiment conjures the spirit of many a Sasha & Digweed set of yore, sure to tug at the heartstrings of the long-time techno lovers among us. Meanwhile, the rhythmic underpinnings of “Outgass” keep things from bleeding too far into Enya’s camp. Aconito Records label boss nAX_Acid lends a hand on the remix, his version sounding ever the soundtrack to a waking dream.

Mount Kimbie - Blind Night Errand EP
Released by Hessle Audio, 11/29/10
Sandwiched between recycled material copped from the album is a live cut of “Maybes,” the lo-fi two-step number that brought Mount Kimbie to the fore early last year. Recorded from a live set at East Berlin’s Berghain, “Maybes (Live at Berghain)” perfectly captures the sentiment of rave, and for anyone’s who’s had the pleasure of visiting the notorious Berlin superclub, it’s hard not to envision this aerated version working its magic in that stark, cavernous space.

The original recording of “Maybes” garnered instant love and countless rewinds upon its release early last year, and in spite of its youth, it’s a track I suspect has attained nostalgia status for many, regardless. This version makes Blind Night Errand EP worth the entry fee alone, a welcome gem after the somewhat lackluster long player Crooks & Lovers released earlier this year. Seated aside “Maybes” is “William (Dayglo Mix),” a skippy, bassy number that takes the free-floating original to a more danceable place, fleshing out a number of DJ sets to come.