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Laurent Fintoni finds plenty to like in the hotly anticipated debut album from dubstep-techno operative Dave Huismans.
By Laurent Fintoni
As dubstep’s popularity continues to expand since its explosion onto the mainstream back in 2006, you might say that things have taken a turn for the ‘predictable’. There may be scores of new labels, producers and releases, but still only a few really saying anything, and that includes most of the original ‘pioneers’ of the sound. One thing that has been interesting in the last few years, however, is the sound’s cross-breeding with minimal techno, firmly helped by a Bristol-Berlin axis and the work of producers such as Pinch, Appleblim and Shackleton.
2562 is neither from Bristol nor Berlin, but rather Holland. Maybe it’s because of his geographical location or maybe not, but his work fits firmly and comfortably in this minimalist dub groove, a groove he has appropriated but also built on with a more upbeat, dance feel that is perfectly illustrated in his first two singles for Tectonic, released last year — I defy anyone to not find the drums in Kameleon seriously fonky.
Aerial is his debut album for the Bristol-based label, and it works. Considering that dubstep is a dubplate- and single-led scene and music, albums are always going to be tricky; however, 2008 is so far proving a great year for album releases, and Aerial shows that you can make a convincing and appealing ‘dance music’ album without compromising. The album stays firmly on the lines of the minimalist dub groove, digging deeper at times and showing a nice range of styles and influences, from minimalist techno to upbeat, housey touches and hypnotic dub delays and echoes. Two tracks from 2562’s first two singles appear on there, alongside eight new productions that will surely resonate around bass bins for a long time to come.
Whether or not you like ‘dubstep’, whether or not the term makes you cringe and whether or not you like the whole minimal crossover, there’s plenty in Aerial to appeal. Yes, Aerial can be seen as a direct descendant of Rhythm and Sound’s work, and yes there are similarities between some of the tracks and the work of other producers who are exploring the whole minimalist dub groove, but ultimately Aerial is also just some exciting electronic music that builds on the past and breathes new life into concepts, ideas and grooves, and that can be quite simply irresistible at times.