Gorgon Sound vs Dubkasm – The Versions (Peng! Sound)
Hands-on record label Peng! Sound started releasing records to highlight the soundsystem culture in Bristol and in particular its wealth of creativity and musical freedom. They’re up to PengSound004 now and, like their previous three releases, it’s another vital slab of heavy, dark dubs. Louder Than War’s Gareth Main reviews.
There’s a compelling argument to say that Bristol-based Peng! Sound is the most forward-looking record label around these days, something their latest release
From the somewhat humble beginnings of putting on events in the musical cooking pot of England’s southwest, last year they moved into producing the most beautiful DIY vinyl records around: stunning heavyweight manilla sleeves containing heavyweight vinyl, upon which are pressed heavyweight dubs. Gorgon Sound’s debut Find Jah Way blew minds as PENGSOUND001, and the label – as well as the artist – has continued at an unrelenting pace.
Since then, both the label and artist have grown together, PENGSOUND004 is Gorgon Sound’s third release for the label, and is more of a continuation of the Gorgon Sound EP from earlier this year than a follow-up in its own right. Utilising fellow Bristolians Dubkasm on mixing duties, The Versions – like the Gorgon Sound EP – is exactly what it says it is: versions of the four tracks on the aforementioned release.
Given that the EP is one of the best releases of the year, it’s unsurprising that The Versions is an astounding listen. The most enjoyable thing about Gorgon Sound is the sheer darkness in their dubs. This is music at its most evil, especially on the second of the two 12s. Dub Mirror (renamed from Medusa on the EP) absolutely tears through the subs, and Who ah de Gorgon (Orion) – whilst the Dubkasm mix adds something of lightness to the track – retains the terrorising bass of the original.
It’s indicative of recent movements in contemporary dub music. Jahtari’s recent Paul St. Hilaire release Nah Ina It is drowned in a slow deluge of dark dubs, and Dutch producer D.E.A.D.’s EP from last year also turned the traditional happy, smiley outlook of Jamaican-influenced sounds on its head – driving the entre genre into a place only the brave dare venture.
But for the brave, it’s a journey worth taking. Few music genres are taking such dramatic diversions into new, unexplored territory, and dub music is genuinely an area ripe for exploration. Gorgon Sound are without doubt the leaders of this, creating dark, rich dubs that terrify as much as they make you want to step. This isn’t dubstep, this is something much more interesting.
All words Gareth Main. More features by Gareth on Louder Than War can be found here.