D.E.A.D.: S.T.I.L.L.D.E.A.D (GM Sounds)
LP / DL / CD
Dutch producer D.E.A.D. is described as being a pioneer of doom dub, a genre a lot of us probably aren’t familiar with. Paul Scott-Bates has always been a fan of traditional dub so was intrigued enough by the description to want to review the album for us. And to cut a long story short, he flipping loved it.
Describing this as âpost-digital dubâ to someone like me who’s fond of a bit of dub was certainly a good way to get my attention & fill me with intrigue. This artist has taken standard dub and recreated it through analogue & has produced an album that has a dark, macabre feel too. It may not be for the fainthearted & some may find it heavy listening, but this music really âclickedâ with me.
This is an instrumental album, which is great as it lets the music speak for itself. Opener, Pong Yang, sets the tone. Itâs a challenge on the ears. The clean sound is definitely twenty-first Century dub in my view (hec, maybe even twenty second!), although having said that there are certainly overtones in the direction of On U-Sound productions from the 80s (proving how far ahead of its time that label was / is), and possibly Mark Stewart circa Learning To Cope With Cowardice.
Lead track, Microwave, has one of those hooks that wonât let go of you. Sometimes sounding offbeat, sometimes made-up on the spot. Its originality is its brilliance, with it has a vintage cop-show hook and enough analogue bass and blips and beeps to keep me happy.
The instant reggae feel of The Root Of All is wondrous. Again, an instantly unforgettable hook. Dubs that start then seem to get cut-off before they finish. A sharp clinical drumbeat. Yes, this could even be described as “post-dub” as far as I’m concerned as it’s taking the genre on to the next level. Very clever.
Itâs when we get to Pookie that things get a little weirder. It’s much darker dub than what preceded it & is maybe one for a modern day horror film. It’s definitely not one for your Granny mind, unless she particularly likes music that sucks the life out of you. It’s slower and darker than a crow in a coalmine. I bloody love it! Looping slurs of trailing monotone â and a bassline that vibrates you to the core.
Air Glue is stranger still, more experimental. A constant swirling like an off-centre spinning top trying to emulate fingernails scratching down a blackboard. You donât need to take drugs if youâre listening to this track, it’s a slower, inventive piece, brilliant in its weirdness. Dubs and mis-timed drumbeats. Iâve never taken drugs and whilst there are tracks like this around I don’t think I’ll ever need too.
Just as you’re wondering where the album could go next Black starts & sounds like an acutely speeded up version of Air Glue. I could be wrong but the visit to Deathâs Disco at 3am in the morning is a welcome one, waking you up and wishing you hadnât.
I havenât heard an album as original as this for ages. Is it too late to get Father Xmas to bring this to me?
Stream a remixed preview version of S.T.I.L.L. D.E.A.D. below:
You can listen to a stream of the whole album and buy it here!
All words by Paul Scott-Bates. More articles by Paul on Louder Than War can be read here.