Say what you will about the way that the anonymous producer Zomby has conducted himself on online social networks; his music has always seemed—to me anyway—to speak far louder and much more eloquently than his words. Signing an EP to Hyperdub is, in itself, no small feat, and the resulting self-titled double pack has since been used as a comparative yardstick, after Zomby blew the bloody and stumped doors off the dubstep rule book with an array of arrpegiated skwee-tronics and classic computer game-style synth hooks.
One Foot Ahead of the Other does much of the same, pinning erratic wandering "game over" melodies against solid 4x4 kick drums on "Pumpkinhead's Revenge," fusing sharpened minor key riffs around circulating haphazard bass on "Helter Skelter" and fusing similar 8-bit twisting melodies around crunching kick drums on "Bubble Bobble." But the real moments where Zomby's processes shine are on the tracks that sound noticeably richer and fuller, like the stop/start contorted pads of "Polka Dot," the bubble dream synths of "Godzilla" and the title track which pins sawing keyboards against a solid 2-step beat that comes complete with duel snares that clip/clop out of unison, giving the beat the essential swing it needs to worm into your subconscious.
"Firefly Finale" and "Expert Tuition" are superb examples of Zomby eschewing his trademark "halcyon coated arpeggio" in favour of some cyclical, sparse, keyboard-heavy 2-step. It's the sound of Zomby veering away from the noodlesome snatches of melody, as displayed (admittedly very impeccably) on "Mescaline Cola"—which comes complete with a snare that sounds like that last forced suck on a straw when your soda pop glass is emptying out—and into the solid, glistening production charm of someone like Martyn, who—much like Zomby—has a stylistic palette all his own.
It feels like One Foot Ahead of the Other has a cunning plan, luring you in with the promise of what is essentially a collection of beautifully skewed and slanted Zomby beat sketches (the longest track is just 4:17), but with a powerful quintet of grown man productions included, the EP chooses instead to make your body work in conjunction with the music. Buy this, and you'll get probably the most complete peek into the hard drive of one of dubstep's most promising idealists to date.
Buy Zomby - One Foot Ahead of the Other at
Tracklist: Zomby - One Foot Ahead of the Other A1 One Foot Ahead of the Other
A2 Helter Skelter
B1 Pumpkinhead's Revenge
B2 Polka Dot
C2 Expert Tuition
D1 Bubble Bubble
D2 Mescaline Cola
D3 Firefly Finale