Friday, July 13, 2007

Shackleton / Appleblim - Soundboy Punishments

Apart from a few exceptions, some of which tend to be considered album of the year by many people including myself, (hello Burial), dubstep music is still mostly released in vinyl-only maxi-singles and white labels, keeping the anonymous underground aura that is still attached to the scene. For the common public, this makes it harder to keep up with all the news, but from time to time comes a full-length album that does us the favor of updating everyone with some of the most interesting stuff circulating for the last few months on DJ's plates, underground clubs or pirate stations. We already had "The Roots Of Dubstep" and its take into, hum, dubstep roots, including most of its underground classic gems; the Dubstep Allstars series, released through Tempa, already in its 5th volume and constantly collecting some of the most recent scene's cuts. Now "Soundboy Punishments" comes to fulfil another hole, covering almost all the work put out by producers Shackleton and Appleblim, of Skull Disco. Not the most hyped dubstep producers, their work has nevertheless been one of the most solid and mesmerizing to date, always building geometric and mechanical doped beats and basslines and dressing them with minimal surreal elements like cavernous sounds, thunderous synthesizers, robotic percussions or, in Shackleton's case, some mid-East influences. It's also visible the influence that the german minimal technno scene has on this guys, with its hypnotic digressions and alternative takes into the common space and time vectors, culminating in an epic 18-minute track remixed by Ricardo Villalobos, as if two titanic worlds melted together and slowly danced to the end of the world. Enigmatic, futuristic and post-apocalyptic as ever, this is music that has the power to look at the darkest sides of our urban culture and with that, slowly involving our brain and touching our soul. (8/10)

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