[album review] scuba: triangulation

September 27, 2010

Album cover for Triangulation by Scuba

Scuba: Triangulation (Hotflush Recordings, 2010)
12 tracks/eMusic credits [buy on eMusic] [buy on Amazon.co.uk]

Triangulation is the second album from Scuba, the alter ego of Paul Rose, one of the leading members current micro-generation of dubstep artists (such is the pace of the innovation-assimilation-innovation cycle in urban electronic music that a new ‘generation’ seems to emerge every two years or so).

This reviewer, not having immersed himself in the genre (the pretty much solitary reference point being 2562‘s excellent 2009 release, Unbalance) can’t judge whether it represents a great leap forward or not. As a club-inside-your-head slice of electronica, though, it ain’t half bad.

Descent, the opener, marks a retreat from daylight into the album’s subterranean dreamworld, your home for the next hour. The rest of the album represents a trail through this dank, dark, enticing space, each track representing a new room – physical, mental or inbetween – to explore: the rattling, clanking engine vault of Latch; club antechamber Three Sided Shape; the techno-inflected dancefloor of On Deck; the syncopated trance of Tracers; the romantic industrialism of Heavy Machinery

Closing track Lights Out is the clear stand-out, intentionally or otherwise cramming the trajectory of the album’s previous eleven tracks into a seamless eight-and-a-half minutes. This is the one to download if you’re short of credits/cash/bandwidth. (Got room for one more? Go for the aforementioned Tracers).

Taken in isolation, there are tracks on Triangulation that – in comparison to the album’s highlights – are filling time rather than shaping it. But experienced as a single work Triangulation delivers more than the sum of its parts, in doing so moving dubstep ever closer towards the intelligent mainstream it has been skirting ever since Burial missed out on the Mercury Prize in 2008. Hell, there are even a couple of nearly-songs on there (Before and So You Think You’re Special).

Another innovation assimilated, to the probable horror of purists, but to no complaints from me.

close to 94 rating: ★★★★★★★

This review is part of close to 94‘s [emusic club], which reviews one album from the eMusic catalogue every week from a selection refreshed every month.

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