Scuba, or Scuwop, as he liked to be known, comes back with a full new album, Claustrophobia, on his own Hotflush label. Rhythms are fluid from track to track, generally staying away from the straightforward approach in favour of the engaging and unexpected. We are still in sleek dancefloor territory though, oh yes oh yes. Two LPs or one CD.
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- Claustrophobia by Scuba
8/10 Laurie Staff review, 20 March 2015
The proverbial word on the street hasn’t uttered Scuba’s name for a long time. This seems a bit odd as he was a figure about to take the world by storm circa 2011, with some extremely successful 12 inchers doing the club rounds and Personality poised for release. So what happened next?
The infectious low-slung 4x4 grooves of those singles disappeared in a puff of smoke to be replaced with dull broken beat from the more electro side of techno. Not exactly the party everyone had hoped for, the fickle world of dance music almost blacklisting him, or so it would seem. I haven’t heard much he’s done since, so this is an interesting ‘then & now’ situation that’s jumped a couple of years. Claustrophobia, appearing courtesy of his label Hotflush, is an album of more straight techno. He must have spent so long in Berlin that he has now become a kick drum, confined to a tiny basement club, this being a rare musical glimpse.
Snarling bass tones, dusty hats and big kicks are everywhere, arranged in rhythms that are expected (‘Why you feel so low’) next to exciting (the halftime workout ‘Television’), with snippets of street/factory recordings embellishing the groove. Things get melodic n teary on ‘Drift’, with arps colliding with metal containers large and small. This is probably the most exciting track from a sound design perspective, such a nice melee of high end detail. Perfectly paced, Claustrophobia gives you a slice of chin-stroke before launching you back into the world of big room dancers, yet with this sample manipulation wizardry a constant throughout. Ok, so these are pretty much the only 2 facets to his sound, but is ultimately the spectrum for non-elitist techno producers.
I really wanted to dislike this because a friend of a friend who went out with Scuba once said he was boring. But the energy present in tunes like ‘PCP’ is impossible to ignore. So I forgive you Scuba. I forgive you for being boring.
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