Boomkat Product Review:
The breathtaking odyssey of ’Epitaph’ is Jay Glass Dubs’ definitive opus, a singular redefinition of dub music wielding mutable mixtures of psychedelic dub, ambient-pop and abstract sound design.
After nearly five years spent inverting dub styles on a series of acclaimed releases for Bokeh Vesions, The Tapeworm, Anòmia, Ecstatic and Berceuse Heroique, on ‘Epitaph’ JGD effectively collapses his other aliases - singer/songwriter project Ku, and freeform experimental styles as The Hydra - into a compelling, holistic sound making strong use of his own vocals amid some of the most disorientating sound designs and devilish rhythms in his swelling catalogue.
With an alchemical grasp of elemental chaos, the Athenian artist recalibrates what you know about Jay Glass Dubs, doubling down on the psychedelic intensity while also pushing a sore sense of soul to the fore. The results stagger out of time and place, bulldozing boundaries and perceptions of meter and space whilst always keeping a cool head at the centre of the madness.
The paradoxical states of stasis/motion, chaos/coolness, ancient/futuristic have always been key to JGD’s aesthetic and appeal, but here they’re pushed to dizzying degrees. He places listeners at the centre of a cosmic storm full of clashing pressure systems, pushing and pulling the senses between alien chorales and landslide dub subsidence in ‘Seikilos & to Console Him’, before tumbling wildly down the labyrinthine corridors of tail-chasing breakbeats in ‘Animal Estate’, and sucking us into Charles Hayward-like psych-jazz-rock zones on ‘The Evil Empire’.
The rest of the album only gets deeper under the skin, with plangent interludes and an oddly placed ‘intro’ sandwiching his aching, shoegaze-like beauty ‘A New Model for Emulation’, and leading to meditative militancy of ‘Laid Down’, with its piledriving percussion and arcane trance synths, before that curdled, alien croon comes back into play like the maddest Rhythm & Sound session you’ve never heard on ‘To My Benefitors’, and the reticulated dembow rhythms of ‘Reckless’ leave us reeling in a bombed out no-man’s-land where synthetic sirens call from the trenches.