[Reviewed by Peter Marks]
Dub. Add any number of nouns after it and you wind up in sub-genreville. A magical place full of fads and microscopic attention spans. Despite, or rather in spite of this, cEvin Key and Ryan Moore have delivered their take on it and my does it deliver. In spades. All the classic flourishes of dub and even some reggae tropes are turned on their ears, rather than being the focal point of these twelve tracks they become the accents. The core of a lot of what’s on here is so basic, so primal and so bizarre you won’t know what the hell has hit your ears.
Let’s try this from a simpler perspective. Thick, syrupy bass lines combine with delicate electronic tinkering to form the toppings. The actual meat of the marrow are a collection of devilishly disguised beats designed to do only one thing: get that head nodding. It’s a real treat to hear Key slow it down given how up-tempo his recent works have been. People seem to have forgotten that this guy is a drummer and builds his songs accordingly. The snare rolls and rim hits of premium grade Jamaica get out of the bottle on “UFO Pon Di Gullyside” and goddamn is the reverb cranked up. But let’s get back to that bass (there’s an awful lot going on in these deceptively intricate tracks) before I forget to bring it out center stage.
It’s deep, boys and girls, insanely deep. Once the groove hits you, it’s a matter of endurance to try and keep yourself still. Mexico’s Nor-Tec style of music is an apt comparison to Dubcon, not because of how it sounds but how it makes you feel. You slide out onto the floor and do your thing, the song ends, back you go to the bar no worse for wear. The transitions Key and Moore have going on here define fluid. That bass guitar on ‘Farstar’ is absolutely perfect, it slips into the fray like a stealthy hit of the stickiest smoke you can get your hands on. Tell me how it’s done, you say. How did they get their timings and segues to blend this thoroughly.
I honestly don’t know.
Here’s what I do know: amidst all the echoes and heavy, thudding rhythms there’s magic happening. I don’t mean in some kind of trite, cute kiddie-cartoon kind of way. This is the kind of magic the Bruja gives you a few shots of before you walk between astral planes, the sort of occult conjuring which is pure auditory sorcery. No buttons required. Put it on, forget your troubles and ride the wave. A blast wave, that is. Radiating out from the ground zero point of impact this potent collaboration has left in its wake.