Boomkat Product Review:
Underground provocateur and beat maverick triggers 33 sawn-off rave-refractions, 'With Love'.
After maintaining an unusually low profile for the 2 years since 'Dedication', Zomby is set to convince more heads with this ambitious double album of gloomy electronics and UK soul. And that's not soul of the Beverley Knight type: it's a poignant, more relevant sorta soul; a metaphysical essence that percolates its dilated pulsewidth and comes laden with a very particular emotional and cultural baggage. On 'With Love' the glowing perspiration of '92 has long gone cold, its aura only just phosphorescing in the nuclear fall-out of rave substrains - mid-'90s darkcore and the ghosts of garage - memory mutated, crossbred with the Euro-trance pop and baroque R&B explored in 'Dedication' and synthesised as hollow, architectural models or 3D print-outs that amaze practically more than the full scale, "real" thing.
On the first disc he oscillates between spidery bleep steppers, ghosted garage and distorted, Dillinja-esque jungle battery with that typical, contrary flux of stush concision and burned-out rave yearn, cycling through 17 fragments of a smashed and tortuous mind. The 2nd disc is markedly different, though, delineating darker, skittish trap tessellations and more private solo piano and crystalline arpeggio ponders in a chamber-like atmosphere. As with AFX and Burial before him, Zomby's supernaturally effective feel for melody and harmony is key to his appeal, but unlike them, his awareness of contemporary rhythms and his adroit ability to re-define gives his work a contemporary relevance and resonance they've sometimes failed to achieve.