It goes without saying that a great deal of Hyperdub's near-ubiquitous success over the past five years can be accredited to Kode9's distinct ear for a great auteur. So much so, in fact, that most attempts to pin down the label's signature aesthetic end up collapsing under a wave of mystifying post- and proto- suffixes made irrelevant by their next genre-bending maestro. While the retrospective disc on the recent 5 Years of Hyperdub compilation manages to successfully trace a consistency in sound to some extent, its biggest success is the way its prospective counterpart highlights the label's acute sensitivity to nurturing the inimitable styles of each producer.
Compare, for example, Darkstar's "Need You" with "Aidy's Girl Is a Computer," both included on the aforementioned compilation. Released nearly two years apart, the change between the two is slight but significant—the scalar bass patterns dominating the former ensured it was a hit in 2008 when minimal dub wobble was all the rage, but in "Aidy" the bass is relegated beneath a more cerebrally emotive, faltering synth wash and choppier, vocoder-drenched vocals. The result is a more personalised and proximal sense of melancholy, bringing a whole new intensity to Darkstar's signature electronic dub-lullaby. Make no mistake; this is a love song for the mp3 generation, and however indecipherable Aidy's digitized musings are, a sense of humanity pervades and betrays a very real sense of frustration over having a computer for a surrogate lover.
Given the original has been seeing plenty of action on the dubstep circuit for a while now, perhaps the real point of interest here is Kyle Hall's rework. (Anyone hearing this Detroit-based boy wonder's name for the first time might want to check out his brilliantly eccentric offering a couple of years back on FXHE when he was only 16.) Omar-S' influence is clear in the second half climax of Hall's fast, punchy 4/4 take. Lacing his version with a slightly twisted grasp of Detroit depth well beyond his years, Hall allows the chopped vocals of the original to occasionally break the surface, driving some nicely undulating bass through to the end of an otherwise satisfyingly straightforward, no-shit club warmer.
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Fri / 6 Nov 2009
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