Zomby - One Foot Ahead Of The Other
Over the last few years a large proportion of new electronica acts have become increasingly diluted versions of the original Rinse FM dubstep artists, with fans of the genre struggling to distinguish one from the other in any 2step-and-sub-bass identity parade. Producer Zomby pulled on his surgical scrubs last year with the spectacular Where We You In 92 pumping a shot of adrenaline into the dubstep genre that made it leap up from its hospital bed in an almost unrecognisable form.
Hearing the excellent digital flora single earlier this month with its AFX-like melodies I thought we'd be in for a treat with this release. But what's on offer here are nine fairly similar tracks of Sega bleeps with dubstep beats. This could be the soundtrack to a late 80s video-game with its oscillating synth sounds chirping out like so many SID-based symphonies before it. As it plays I'm half-expecting to be collecting 100 coins or leaping upon the heads of garishly coloured opponents. I grew up with a gamepad in my hands but some of this isn't on par with actual video-game music. As a body of work it's an uninspired soundtrack to a game that doesn't even exist.
It's hard to figure out where one track starts and the next begins. Some feature some vocal samples, more often than not stating the title of track like some demented Pokemon only able to repeat its own name over and over. 'Expert Tuition' is closest thing to what would be traditionally described as a dubstep track. 'Mescaline Cola', whilst retaining it's 8-bit wrapper, has a ragga soul but, alas, no heart. The album closer - or end-of-level-boss - 'Firefly Finale' with its juxtaposed floaty melody and dub vibes is great but it's also the least chip-tune sounding track here - which speaks volumes.
Had Where You In 92 not been so genre bustingly awesome, expectations may not have been so high. Maybe coming from another artist in the dubstep world this would have been acceptable. Zomby needs to get off the consoles and back into the clubs. Sadly, for now, it's One Foot Ahead Of The Other but Two Steps Back.