As an artist Zomby has often appeared as a controversial music enigma, always shunning the spotlight, almost the dubstep equivalent of Slipknot masking up before a performance. His subversive nature orientates from often extreme exchanges with other artists, including threatening to shoot Roska, as well as an appalling track record for never turning up for live bookings. Nevertheless his previous album 'Where Were You In '92' and releases on Hyperdub alone preserved his artistic integrity on the sake of their esteemed positions as cult classics; one part nostalgic throwbacks, another uniquely produced marvels. Summers LP release 'Dedication' took a darker turn, now the follow-up accompaniment 'Nothing' is due to drop.
Unlike 'Dedication' which was a categorically dark lamentation of a lost family member, 'Nothing' is much lighter in sound and appearance, considered by its reflective white front cover. The first track 'Labrynth' is a throwback to 90s hardcore, complete with jungle beat, distant whistles and distorted vocals. The song is akin to looking back at the era through a mire of bass-heavy memory. Immediatly this renders the album a sense clarity in comparison to 'Dedication', clearly Zomby has put those ghosts to rest, moving back to much more vibrant sound.
From there 'Nothing' takes the listener on a journey as the second track 'Digital Fractal' winds thing down to a more hypnotic pace punctuated intermitently by double keyboard strokes that move up and down the scale with each beat. Complimented by the bass which works on an opposing rhythm to the melody it is a testament to the often simple component parts of Zomby's production combined to a comprise cohesive whole with a definite sense of purpose.
'Equinox' has more wondrous sound (appropriate considering the title) complete with rolling bass layered beneath an ever increasing sequence of melodies as well as contrasted ambience. Bleeding into 'Sens' the album immediatly picks up pace with a 4 x 4 jungle drum loop and distinct bassline. It sounds unlike anything other than Zomby's incredibly novel style of production that recreates the audible sensation of music within a rave environment. Listening to the tracks on headphones alone, the echo effects perfectly mimic the muddy shaking of a club sound system.
The album continues it's post 'Dedication' journey subsequently essentially infecting the listener with the same vibe as the famous 'Peep Show' line "he's taking it up, he's taking it down'. 'Ecstacy Versions' is a particulaly great note upon which to end the record, truly as if it was a glimpse into the past.
'Nothing' is a superb piece of work that encapsulates exactly the sort of subversive perspective that transcends the dumbing down of bass music currently effective in modern production. It is both thoughtful and provocative whilst always engaging.