Deadbeat - Journeyman's Annual
As far as i understand it, the freshly created genre of Dubstep classifies a certain slow beat, bass heavy, plodding style of music that descends from Dub Reggae and Two Step..
Another way to describe it would be, that if Drum & Bass is Reggae and Dub speeded up, then Dubstep is Dub and Reggae slowed down.
Now perhaps I'm loosing my electro zeitgeist edge at the princely age of 32, but Dubstep isn't a genre that's grabbed me as of yet. In fact to be brutally honest, I find Reggae/Dub to be slow enough without any further decrease in the BPM being required...
I was therefore slightly nervous about this LP by Deadbeat. Indeed, looking and trying to second guess it's contents, I wondered if I wasn't in for a piece of music that would lead to a review characterised by my very best negative thoughts on the ills of dubstep and heavy hard dream drugs....
Well, I'm pleased to report that this hasn't been the case and that I've been very pleasantly surprised to find Journeyman's Annual to be an excellent record.
So what are we talking here??
We're talking HEAVY HEAVY production. Yes boss, this LP is denser and thicker than a rainforest half way up the Amazon, and rather remarkably it's almost as beautiful.
Yes boss, this record is like a swimming pool of thick and deep black water that swings and sways, and once the bass heavy rhythms kick in, with all the swagger of a iron ball smashing into a condemned building, I find I want to dive right on in to this pool with absolutely no regard for my own personal safety, to be completely and utterly absorbed by the thick fucking BASS...
Make no mistake, this is a record that's been made by a deep lover of sound - The kind of man who thinks nothing of standing right in front of the speakers for hours on end in order to properly absorb and understand what's going on.
But, it's not just the heavy and deep production I like with this LP, it's also the sounds used in it's particulars.
Secondo me, too much later day dub and reggae has been constructed using naff synthesized immitation sounds that have followed identikit rhythms to those created 35 years ago by the likes of Tubby & Perry.
This isn't the case here. Indeed, though this LP could be accused of using some signature dub sounds, more noticeable is that there's a definite and real attention to detail on each and every noise featured and then again on how they all sit together...
If I were to have a complaint with it at all, it would be, that as with the Trentemoller LP The Last Resort, some of the guest vocalists aren't quite as strong as the sounds on top of which they talk.
Perhaps the adoration I have for this LP is the start of my conversion to a dubstep disciple??
More likely is that it says this record isn't really dubstep at all. It's a kind of Dub for the computer age with elements of normal paced dub, hints of dubstep, nods to African Polyrhthms, tribal beats, and a similar production style not disimilar to Trentemoller's.
In short, Journeyman's Annual is a splendidly solid, firm and well built record and having heard it, my main concern is in donning my favourite pair of speedos, pulling down my goggles and diving into it's layers on a proper big soundsystem...