Hyperdub has emerged as one of dubstep's most defiantly unorthodox labels. Since conspicuous beginnings with the beatless ‘Sign of the Dub’, Kode9's imprint has cultivated a status as one of the most consistently experimental forces in dubstep. ‘Konfusion’ sees Hyperdub return to more accessible territory, a move sure to be welcomed by those perplexed by the label's spate of bleepy 8-bit crunchiness.
On this excursion, Kode9 is joined by his long-time collaborator, the engimatic Space Ape, who occupies an unusual space in the ranks of dubstep MCs. His sombre chant is an awkward counterbalance to the jovial banter of his contemporaries. A figure who divides opinion, fans and detractors continue to debate his merits and shortcomings as an accompaniment to Kode9's peerless beats. One suspects that Kode and his simian accomplice secretly prefer it that way.
Space Ape continues on the apocalyptic tangent of 2007's Memories of the Future, invoking dread in the hearts of able-bodied men. Those with a lyrical bent will savor unravelling the riddles of Ape's coded wordplay. Equally, casual listeners may find frustration as they struggle to decipher his words, never mind their meaning, as they are further obscured by the creeping haze of Kode's beats.
For Space Ape's in training, the instrumental mix on the flip offers potential for endless hours of karaoke entertainment, Hyperdub style. Alternatively, savvy selectors will find the B-side a useful tool for cooling overheated dancefloors and sombre after-hours sessions. In the absence of Space Ape's foreboding sermons, this version feels stark as Kode's melancholic brood makes for drowsy-eyed, meditative vibes.
In the context of Hyperdub's more daring output, which nudges at the boundaries of dubstep, this release strangely seems orthodox by comparison. Konfusion is a confident, if safe, return for the pairing of Kode 9 and Space Ape.
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Tracklist: Kode9 & The Space Ape - KonfusionA Konfusion [vox]
B Konfusion [dub]