Despite its descriptive name, it's hard to pin Darkroom Dubs down to a cohesive sound. Since its arrival in 2003, releases have come from far and wide, hosting jacking techno, Chicago and jazz flavoured house, and seemingly everything in between. As their latest split 12-inch asserts, however, the absence of a definitive sound is not necessarily a bad thing.
Label founders Silicone Soul take control of the A-side, offering up a darkroom dub of "Time Mariner's Mirrour." A muffled kick drum opens proceedings, and is quickly joined by a heaving bass line that hangs around for the rest of the track's duration. Spanish strings intermittently appear, and are coupled with chants that eerily drift in and out of earshot. If, as the single's title suggests, Silicone Soul are providing an audible insight into life in Glasgow, then they are showing us the backroom of a grimy club on a rainy January night.
If the A-side was winter, Simon Stokes' "Shoogle" is the first morning of spring. Jazzy brass and lingering guitar samples take the track into Chicago territory, while a short bassline does its job well without taking the focus away from the rest of the track's buoyant string elements. Both tracks serve as handy, albeit markedly contrasting tools, but Silicone Soul's effort is the highlight here.
Tracklist: Various Artists - The Sound of Glasgow Part IIA Silicone Soul - Time Mariner's Mirrour (Darkroom Dub)
B Simon Stokes - Shoogle