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[Ninja Tune; 05/15/2012]
Dubstep, But Not As We Know It.
Time Team, the rabidly awaited debut album from UK producer Slugabed may prove to be a landmark in electronic music. At the very least it suggests one way forward from this dubstep/post-dubstep crossroad. The young artist capitalizes on the multidimensional space of dubstep, while employing some of the more familiar noises made by synthesizers and drum machines. Lots of them. Many songs are intricate to the point of being busy, but that’s the beauty of it. Modern production allows electronic artists to create caverns of sound. Slugabed has chosen to take that cave and fill it with an infinite number of amazing things.
Sure some of the parts he uses like quirky synth sounds lifted from the Breakin’ soundtrack and the odd 8-bit beep aren’t exactly groundbreaking, but they absolutely lighten the mood and Slugabed does recombine them in inventive ways. “Mountains Came Out of The Sky” for example takes beats, synth bleats, and twinkling samples, but arranges them with such finesse that the track falls somewhere between an emotive symphony and a prog rock epic, minus the rock. He follows that up with a socially awkward art-school slow jam called “Grandma Paints Nice.”
The pulsing single “Sex” is really good and probably best described as discostep. Standout jam “All This Time,” with its vaguely Andean sonics and organic tangle of beats, could be the spiritual anthem of a lost space tribe. It’s all enough to overwhelm even the stoutest of digital thrill seekers.
Slugabed throws so much into these songs that encountering them is like looking at a mosaic made from piles of broken tile, sea glass, and children’s toys. It engages the senses, but you might wonder at first if it was assembled with any sort of taste at all. We can assure you that it was assembled with not only taste, but an uncanny amount of vision. You have only to step back a bit and the beautiful design will reveal itself.