Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Various artists - Safe Mode

Are you down with the 111? If you are, you probably need this album, in fact you probably have it already. If you don't know that I'm talking about, read on…

The '111 movement', as far as I can see, is a bid by (mostly) dubstep producers to get away from the blind-alley monotony of endless gnarly, in-your-face basslines and to produce music with a little more artistic/intellectual substance. The only constraint is that everything is at 111bpm. Google it and it appears this is all very arty and cerebral, dahling.

Six of the 12 tracks here - from A Bridge Far Away, Two Oh One, Dusk Ensemble and others - are proudly flying the 111 flag. I'm reminded a bit of the loathsomely self-congratulatory IDM era and also of the almost-forgotten '90bpm movement' way back in the day (ha! I really AM old!) but on the plus side, it's further evidence that dance/electronic music, unlike the tired cliches of rock n' roll, hasn't yet exhausted all the possibilities for reinventing itself. I can also hear some crossover with the more esoteric side of nu-disco and slo-mo house. So shall watch with interest what happens next.

That said, even if you don't buy the 111 thing, there's also plenty of other goodness here, in the form of dubstep from Forensics, Alien Pimp and others, plus a corking slab of dubstep-meets-liquid D&B in Wrexile's Soul Comfort, so generally speaking this album's well worth checking if your tastes tend towards the envelope-pushing. One for the UDD™s, though, it ain't.

Out: Last week, but that's their fault for writing the date the American way, so I thought it was out 6 July when it was actually out 7 June.

About: Safe Mode is on Methodology, a UK label whose MySpace describes them as specialising in 'ambient/downtempo/other'. But don't let that put you off.

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