Zomby - Dedication
The first signs of new music from shady producer Zomby appeared at the tail-end of last year when ‘Natalia’s Song’ appeared on a mix by Burial and Kode9, a fact which goes some way to describing the direction he has taken on Dedication. Newly signed to 4AD of all labels, Zomby has returned with a record that straddles a gap between the glacial, urban soundscapes of the former and the more abstract and difficult beats of someone like Actress, but sprinkling it all with a little of his own black magic.
‘Witch Hunt’ is as brilliant a statement of intent as the album could have, with eerie throbbing synthesizers and gun shots that ring out through the darkness before fading into the aforementioned - brilliant - first single ‘Natalia’s Song’. Making use of stuttering female voices and icy electronics along with brilliant skittering percussion, this is an early highlight and sets a high bar for the rest of the record. Fortunately it’s a bar that Zomby quite effortlessly exceeds, with the rest of the album exploring the gloomiest recesses of his sound.
Panda Bear, of Animal Collective fame, makes a fuzzy, disembodied appearance on ‘Things Fall Apart’, his effects drenched vocals filling the gaps in an otherwise spaciously arranged piece of music. The euphoric interlude of ‘Adagio For Lucifer’ segues into the brilliant ‘Digital Rain’ with its orchestra of beeps and loops that intertwine to create a track that becomes both beautiful and danceable. On ‘Florence’, the tripping patter of beats recalls something almost trip-hop in its construction, but is over all too soon when the dramatic piano of ‘Resolve’ kicks in, housing ghostly, gothic atmospherics during its short two and a half minutes.
With Dedication, Zomby has succeeded in encapsulating his mystery better than ever before, taking his sound to all sorts of different shadowy corners. While he may be associated with the dubstep scene and the myriad of producers it contains, Zomby remains a complete breath of fresh air.