Dubcon – Martian Dub Beacon

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[Reviewed by Peter Marks]

Now that the preliminaries have been taken care of, Dubcon set their sights on outer space and blast off without looking back. Theirs was a debut which drew a decidedly muted response from people around me and now that I’ve spent a bit of time with their latest I’m fairly certain even fewer folks are going to like this one. For one thing the tempo is kept quite high on most of it and any recognized dub influence is now being mixed in with a decidedly psychedelic edge.

If you’ve ever done quality mescaline, peyote, mushrooms or LSD then you’re going to pick up on the singular focus ‘Martian Dub Beacon’ contains fairly early on. The echoes may be there but the atmospheres are thoroughly ergot in nature. We’re talking some serious audio trickery going on here, everyone, the sort of acoustic sleight of hand you’d expect from some of Key’s other projects but not this one. Dubcon make me very curious to hear what Plateau will sound like should another album materialize. The entire field of aural interest has shifted away from chilling a person out to keeping them on edge. You don’t sleep to this. You don’t relax. Every region in your skull is a fusillade of activity.

Were people expecting this kind of stance? Probably not. We’re in the heavens on board this craft heading into unknown regions of the mind, strap in.

The beats propelling this record may not seem terribly varied at first but keep listening because they develop over the course of each composition to reveal subtleties and cunning tonal variants which will charm even the most jaded set of ears. Very complex programming also is on display here, it really feels like they met each other right in the middle and worked their way back out; leapfrogging over one another’s submissions, fleshing out the details until a fullly realized and highly evolved set of tunes were ready to be let loose on an unsuspecting planet.

Dubcon’s bubbling, synthetic arpeggios boil over inside their laboratory imparting an unrivaled palette of stunning color to every last molecule they interact with.

Oh I know what you’re saying, yeah yeah that’s all well and good but what’s the damn thing actually sound like? Well here goes. Should you be a fan of ambient or minimal techno then what Dubcon manage to do here is to combine elements of both and then smother them in the dark, smokey embrace of gloriously manipulated effects and wave after wave of misanthropic electronics. It’s almost an intuitive process to bear witness to; even as a finished product you can hear inklings of where they were headed when it was decided that they’d gotten out far enough. Now how that decision was reached or where the hell Moore and Key chose to draw that line is something we’ll never know… however, for doubters and the dismissive types who viewed this collaboration as just lazy stoner music for smokers consider yourself put on notice: things are evolving exponentially and our duo won’t be stopping their endeavors anytime soon.

This beacon is lit and all the universe will soon be ablaze.

Dubcon – Martian Dub Beacon
Metropolis, MET 1005
CD/Digital 2016

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