Saturday, 9 January 2010

King Midas Sound – Waiting For You… [Hyperdub]

Bitter-sweat smoky dub, love songs full of longing and a heavy sense of dread: Kevin Martin makes a return with a new project to follow up last years fantastic ‘London Zoo’ under The Bug pseudonym. Roger Robinson joins him in a more prominent roll, taking off where he left with the subtler cuts from the aforementioned album, eerie falsetto and a fragility that really balanced the aggressive energy of that project. Hitomi also features; often on backing vocals or in a more prominent roll giving Robinson a strong counter point to play off, the pair create an atmosphere full of ethereal emotion. ‘Waiting For You…’ is the first full artist album form Hyperdub since Burial’s sublime ‘Untrue’ and continues in a line of albums from the label that are full of a melancholic darkness and tension that shows a side of our modern existence so well. In fact ‘Waiting For You…’ may well be the natural successor to ‘Untrue’ in theme at least, both albums seem to deal with love and longing in some way but from entirely different angles.

The opener ‘Cool Out’, which came out last year with a couple of brilliant remixes from Flying Lotus and Dabrye. The original has lost none of its appeal though, the opening lines ‘We kill soundboys with our shaoulin styles’ are delivered with a sweat fragile air about them that gives the lyrical bravado of the whole track a eerie juxtaposition of styles that works so well. ‘Waiting For You’ and ‘Meltdown’ have a similar stripped back minimal sound that lets the love sick lyrics really breathe so lines like ‘Seems like I’m heading for a meltdown’ really stick in your mind. The latter was also on the fantastic ‘5’ compilation, a biter sweat lovers dub track that this album excels in. ‘Darlin’ works with similar effect.

‘One Ting’ first heard in dub form as part of the 12” before the album is a dense affair that comes across as a hip-hop variant on London Zoo era Bug material. ‘I Man’ also appeared on that 12” under the name ‘I Dub’, it’s my favourite on there too and the vocal works a treat. The gentle winding toy box melody that ushers in the teeth shaking bass line gets me every time. It’s probably the best vocaling of the previously released dubs too, the lines, ‘Morning brings a smile, I have a happy vibe’ make it one of the most hopeful here too. ‘Outta Space’ comes with some subtle dancehall beats and chords that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Vengalis album, but seeped in dub and a fuzzy fragile atmosphere.

We get our first glimpses of Hitomi on ‘Earth a Killya’, where she ushers in the opening mantra, a gentle, hushed delivery that’s so controlled that it’s both beautiful and sinister. Robinson delivers his lyrics in a simple spoken tone, which offsets the two deliveries really well. This trac and the wonderful ‘Lost’ most reminds me of early trip-hop and early Bristol sounds, they have the breaks and the latter even has Portishead-esq loop. The bass pulse that echoes out of the un-named instrumental before ‘Goodbye Girl’ is something else, it reaches right through you just like the feelings of heartbreak but in sonic form. It’s emotion recreated in bass a feat this album pulls off brilliantly throughout.

‘Waiting For You…’ is an album of loss, longing and heartbreak; it’s a heavy listen at times due to its dense atmosphere and emotion. But it’s also a brilliantly relaxing listen that gives puts you in a Zen like state of tranquillity to meditate on the albums messages and the lush bass heavy atmosphere. Kevin Martin, Roger Robinson and Hitomi have created an album that you’ll find yourself coming back to and discovering more in the lyrics and sound, it’s an album that grows and reveals its self slowly.

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