Reviews: Carl Craig DJs


Various: Staedtizism



"Reins" [122k RealAudio]

"Hard Drive Dub" [131k RealAudio]

What hath Basic Channel wrought?

Solving the dub + techno equation six years ago has forced open an entirely new realm of sound. The resultant music has been extremely interesting -- for a number of reasons.

Dub seems to accentuate techno's inherent dichotomy: listening vs. dancing. You're tempted just to cocoon yourself under a pair of headphones and pick up on every tweak, but the low-end still beckons you to move. More often than not, it seems the artists themselves retreat into cocoons, making it increasingly difficult to separate their styles. How does one describe the "voice" an artist projects when it's so soft and subtle? At its worst, the far end of the new dub continuum offers up as many software-happy amateurs as it does musical prophets.

Thank heaven for compilations like Staedtizism.

Sound and absence of sound come together in a variety ways on this record, ranging from Gramm's soft focus approach on "Siemens Bioport" to the downright ominous. For instance, Sun Electric unleashes a ravenous new computer virus named "Echelon." You can almost hear it chewing its way through your organization's firewall. To Rococo Rot and I-sound take a completely different tack, adding crispier, chunkier bits to their music on "Milker" -- sort of like the electronic chocolate chips in dub's mint ice cream. Something for everyone, to be sure.

Kit Clayton's title "Reins" might be a credo for modern dub: the self-restraint required to prevent it from suffering under the weight of too much filter-experimentation. Clayton creates interesting sonic textures while simultaneously recapturing dub's vibrancy and buoyancy. Label-head Pole shows another kind of restraint, in that its contribution "sachtesachte" (gently, gently) doesn't outshine the other artists.

Finally, there's the ridiculous, beautiful burnt offering from Friedman and his Nu Dub Players. Doug E. Fresh in session with Mad Professor? This one's hard to put into words -- you just have to hear it for yourself. That is if you can break out of your cocoon.


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