To understand what I mean, see the title of the duo's new double EP. Even leaving aside the nod to dubstep's most influential club night, the sampled vocal it's drawn from declares, "It's like they went back to go forward... they've come to a place that's beyond where they started." To those aware of a chief criticism of the Keysound aesthetic—that it's too reverent to past UK styles, too self-conscious of its heritage, to constitute something genuinely new—the point is as subtle as a boot to the genitals. Still, if you missed it on the title track, you might catch it in a "Sweet 2 Go Sour" mix of the same track or, indeed, on the beatless reprise "Epic Jam." The irony is that such clumsy invocations of lineage only prove the critics right (there is also a track here called "Timeless," which, unless you're Goldie, is just playing with fire).
Of course, this overbearing myth making would be forgivable if the music were strong. But the cluttered, funkless grooves of these tracks are far from highlights in the Dusk + Blackdown discography. There are no bold new ideas, just fiddly variations on existing ones, as in "Peng One Two"'s Wen-style MC chatter, borrowed from other Keysound artists. Blackdown's remix of Epoch's hulking "The Steppenwolf" is similarly airless and unrewarding; fortunately a pair of external remixers offer some much-needed relief. A foundational figure in the Keysound universe, Horsepower Productions transforms Dasaflex cut "Wicked Vibez" into a no-frills garage roller, while Facta puts an abstracted 2-step spin on "Drenched," from Keysound's first ever release. Both, in their own ways, display a fluidity and effortlessness that the originals lack.
Tue / 28 Oct 2014
A1 Dusk & Blackdown - Back 2 Go FWD>>
A2 Blackdown - Timeless
B1 Dusk & Blackdown - Peng One Two
B2 Dusk & Blackdown - Epic Jam
C1 Dusk & Blackdown - Back 2 Go FWD>> (Sweet 2 Go Sour Mix)
C2 Epoch - The Steppenwolf (Blackdown Remix)
D1 Blackdown - Wicked Vibez (Horsepower O-G Remix)
D2 Dusk & Blackdown - Drenched (Facta Remix)