Various Artists - Clan Analogue In Version: Dub Selections
Mon 27th Mar, 2006 Music Reviewsin
(Clan Analogue/Creative Vibes)
While things have been comparatively quiet on the release front from the sprawling Clan Analogue collective over the past year, this latest compilation of Australian producers promises to re-assert the collective’s presence on the local electronic music scene, with the focus this time (following ‘Doppler Shift’s examination of electro) falling upon all things dub – a genre not exclusively explored by Clan since the release of their two excellent ‘Jaunt’ compilations right at the end of the nineties. In this case, it’s Scott McPhee of Nerve Agent / X-Ray Soundsystem, a considerably proficient practitioner of electronic dub himself handling the executive producer compilation reins, and in a manner very similar to the preceding ‘Doppler Shift’ collection, rather than prescribe any hard-and-fast genre formulas to the artists involved, he’s instead created a situation in which each artist has come to the table with their own individual take on what constitutes ‘dub’.
The No-Talent Hack title that preceded his name now absent, the ever-unpredictable Dsico opens this collection with one of its highlights as well as one of its few vocal / song-based inclusions, and in this case, he’s opted for a dubbed-out reworking of ‘Over And Out’, taken from his recent ‘You Fight Like A Girl’ EP, its disenchanted sounding ‘walking home at 4am’ vocal scattered and delayed out over a swinging backdrop of metallic percussion, synth-horn hits and deep live dub bass that carries a stray hint of The Specials in its detached-sounding vocal delivery. Galactic Gangstars take things right out into gorgeously deep Mad Professor-style electronic dub on ‘Get Your War On’, stray traces of delayed-out soul vocal fragments trailing away into the ether as tightly programmed dub beats pulse beneath and scattershot electro snares ripple and flit, before X-Ray Sound System’s ‘Melodarimbic Internationale’ introduces some elements of French chanson into the equation, delicate vibraphone notes trilling over a clicking backdrop of retro drum machine beats as rippling dub layers cascade and rich accordians trace a path through the delayed-out haze. Valley Forge’s stripped-down and cavernous digi-dub excursion ‘Muscle and Grit’ meanwhile calls to mind the sound of a massive machine slowing down, clanking metallic rimshots ringing out through ghostly layers of organ and twinkling electronics as brooding synths trace a pattern against vast, echoing dub rhythms.
Koshowko take things down into treacherous broken rhythms on the expansive ‘Promise’, slightly eerie vocoders tracing a path through echoing scattershot dub drums and brooding, spy-movie synths, providing one of this compilation’s most storming and sinister digitally-assisted beat breakdowns, before Andy Rantzen ventures out into skeletal dub-techno that calls to mind a Japanese-tinged version of Rhythm & Sound on ‘My Lover In The Moon’, minimalist drum machine rhythms and ghostly sub-bass drops gliding against what sounds like a treated shamisen sample and the spooky sounds of howling wolves. Psyburbia vs. Winduptoys’ ‘Fuel’ meanwhile breaks things down into a vast slice of clanking dub-hiphop that comes across like a cross between some seriously tweaked-out Ennio Morricone score and Techno Animal’s roaring wash of processed noise, complete with what sounds like an out of control industrial fan at one point, before Kazumichi Grime takes this compilation to a close with the Mille Plateaux-like minimal pulsing electronics of ‘Marianas Trench’, deep muted bass pulses booming like subaquatic noises as rippling, grainy-sounding digitally processed noises tease the higher frequencies.
An absolutely excellent compilation from Clan Analogue that for my money represents one of the collective’s strongest recent releases, as well as an essential guide for anyone interested in checking out the various permutations of dub being explored by some of its member artists. An electronic dub-head’s delight awaits you.
Check out http://www.clananalogue.org.