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- Black Sun by Kode9 & The Spaceape
9/10 Brett Staff review, 14 April 2011
Jeeeeesus, has it really been almost five years since the last full-length from these lads? Time flies.. Things change.. Especially Kode9 & The Spaceape albums, it seems. Whereas Memories of the Future was dub taken to about its darkest possible extreme, a lesson in hyperlow-end paranoia, Black Sun is comprised of stretched, blaring, woozily droning dayglo synths, dextrous, often funky, percussion and a fairly staggering lack of obvious bass throughout the majority of its duration. Personally I loved the singles taken from the first record but I didn't think it worked hugely well as a whole while, weirdly, this time I'm finding that the opposite is holding true. The 'Black Sun'/'2 Far Gone' 12" which pretty much marked Kode9's big shift in sound a couple of years back and the odds and ends he's done since I've enjoyed without being particularly overwhelmed by, I think mainly because they seemed to be trying to paint a picture with their sounds that just couldn't fully come across in such bite-sized chunks. Well now the full creation is here and the images of an alternate universe, all post-apocalyptic landscapes, radiation saturated mutations and highlighter coloured skies get more and more vivid with every listen. Speaking of that 'Black Sun' 12", the title track here has been reworked into a brilliantly housey 'Partial Eclipse Version' which is COMPLETELY MOTHERLOVINGLY EPIC. I totally defy you not to move to that shit. Of course, for all the changes in sound Spaceape's always gonna bring the heaviness with his patented brand of righteous ultradread and although some of his lyrics are still a touch cringeworthy ("accidents can happen in the throes of anal passion"? Thanks for that, dude) his delivery is, as ever, completely enthralling. Chinese vocalist Cha Cha brings a far more subtle, but very, very effective, vocal presence to four tracks, contrasting well with the big man. Making himself known last (but not least) is Flying Lotus who features on 'Kryon', the closer. I'm not exactly sure what he's doing on there unless that's him you can hear talking unintelligably in the background, but who cares so long as it sounds good.. Which it does. Dubstep might've kinda petered out and splintered off in a lot of ways but records like this are proof that its more forward-thinking mainstays are well capable of moving with, adapting to and continuing to shape the times. Definitely one of the landmark releases of the year so far in my book.
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