Friday, March 16, 2007

Mary Anne Hobbes' Army of Darkness: Warrior Dubz Album Review

At its crudest dubstep is written off as a mutant drum and bass, gutted of rushing snares and cross fertilised with UK garage. Here's the album that confirms Breezeblock host Mary Anne Hobbes as the Don King of the scene, bigging up the heavy weights against any other genre that dares stand in the way of the broody glare emanating from it through out 2006.

This compilation captures a fascinating slice of the experimentalism currently coming out of the UK underground. The slow skanky riddims of Digital Myztikz's "Anti War Dub" are as deep as the anti-war sentiment it whispers. In Andy Stotts "Black" you can hear the glimmering rushs of rave's piano lines played out "20,000 leagues under the sea" as Kode9 would have it. The bounce of Plastician's "Cha Vocal" featuring Fresh, Napper & Shizzle sits alongside the see saw menace of "Versus" by the brilliant Burial and the the frightening deep throat poetics of Space Ape on Kode9's "Kingstown" simply terrify.

Benga's "Music Box" nods to that definitive skunked dubstep sound explored by Skream. Much of the album dances the line between grime and dubstep, opening with Virus Syndicate's lyrical threat of impending urban violence. JME's "Pence" is a harsh riposte of a "drugs, scams, credit card fraud" reality to any optimisitc vision of cash from underground music. If he's right and music is an anitode to being broke, then few albums find as much hope in oppresive realities as this one. As a route into the murky, stunning world of dubstep's booming bass and splintering textures you'll find no better.

This album was launched in The Mass right in the heart of Babylondon back in October, here's Soundtracksforthem's review. For the best writing on dubstep check out Blackdown, Guttabreakz and Simon Reynold's brilliant end of year piece on the links between noise, hipster metal and dubstep.

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