Various Artists: Skull Disco: Soundboy Punishments

Various Artists: Skull Disco: Soundboy Punishments

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Album: Skull Disco: Soundboy Punishments
Label: Rough Trade

A now-sound in those parts of London still haunted by the ghosts of old jungle and drum 'n' bass, dubstep sounds like a musical mode made for a ravey sort of wake. Dubstep artists on the Skull Disco label's two-disc compilation Soundboy Punishments favor sparseness over density, homing in on isolated drum sounds and letting suggestion take over from there: On "Girder," the producer known as Appleblim crams lots of little taps and reverberations into a soundscape marked by reedy breaths blown back from old Jamaican dub reggae, but the dominant factor remains its expansive sense of space. In "New Dawn," Shackleton enlists weird yelps and breaches of noise in what starts out like a dream but moves into the realm of nightmare. A revealing highlight of the set comes by way of Ricardo Villalobos, a techno artist whose chilling 20-minute remix of Shackleton's "Blood On My Hands" meditates on the paralysis and action latent in a sound that traffics in a choked-up language of heaves and sighs.

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