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zomby - Dedication
It's not like it's his first full-length offering, but nonetheless there's a weight and a composure to this release, right down to its sequencing, presentation and home on 4AD, which screams "debut LP proper". Fair play to the geez, he's done himself proud here: the eldritch, tranced-out double-punch of opening tracks 'Witch Hunt' and 'Natalia's Song' sets the tone for an album that delivers unabashed emotion, narcotic drift and rudeboy grit in equal and complementary measure. The absolutely boss 'Riding With Death' is like grime from outer space, smacked-up and dubbed-out but iterated with an almost Teutonic discipline, while 'Vortex' and 'Lucifer' team the kind of brazen synth stabs favoured by R&B overlords like The-Dream and Timbaland with a heart-catching isolationist sensibility more in keeping with vintage Ae or Source Direct. In the context of the album, the Panda Bear-vocalled 'Things Fall Apart' makes perfect sense, preparing the ground for the fetid fourth world techno of 'Salamander'. 'Digital Rain' and 'Devil Lay Here' are pure, Zomby-patented dubstep bubble-bobble, the latter knocked nicely off-kilter by ear-worming horn sounds, while the wild-pitching arpeggios of 'Mozaik' and 'Black Orchid' hark back to his game-changing Hyperdub double-pack. 'Florence' teams the most delicate, tremulous piano sequences with scuttling junglist breakbeats, prompting inevitable comparisons with classic Aphex gear; pianos are in fact all over the album, culminating in the straight-faced, unadorned solo piece 'Basquiat'. The guy has really cultivated his patch of digital flora to perfection, and we just can't fault him here; Dedication is a hugely recommended journey into the heart of soundsystem psychedelia, Zomby-style.