A contemporary dub sound that sometimes stumbles.
In the last few years, Papadatos has also been tucking away tracks for Epitaph, his debut album. But as the title suggests, Papadatos may be reconsidering his sound. On the one hand, he scrubs "dub" off of the track titles, though heavy doses of delay and spatially disorienting effects remain here. Whereas classic dub producers might use such effects to accentuate a riddim, Papadatos has them deployed at all times, so that every element triggers chain reactions.
Some fresh ideas arise out of this soup on Epitaph. On "The Evil Empire," Papadatos rides some menacing squalls of sax and cavernous piano chords. And then there's his voice, processed to sound like an alien choir on "Seikilos & To Console Him." At first encounter, "Animal Estate" seems like the most thrilling new direction for Papadatos, with a haunting female vocal and tumbling snares sounding out from the dubby abyss. And yet, for all of that crackling percussion, "Animal Estate" seems to hover in space throughout.
There's something disorienting about this much delay. But Epitaph's full sound turns the album into a slog. Take "To My Benefitors," where all the dubbed-out sounds accumulate, stumble and abut one another. As the sounds pile up, it becomes as maddening as a traffic jam. The closer, "Reckless," loops some female vocals into an enchanting chorale that builds and builds. But as a bass throb nudges the track towards a promising peak, Papadatos dissolves it suddenly with another round of effects. For all of the new timbres and possibilities explored on the album, Epitaph too often lays bare the limitations of Papadatos's approach.
Thu / 7 Feb 2019
01. Seikilos & To Console Him
02. Animal Estate
03. The Evil Empire
04. Interlude I (The Hand That Rocks The Cradle)
05. A New Model For Emulation
07. Laid Down
08. To My Benefitors
09. Interlude II (Emergency Blanket)