Thursday, 2 February 2012
Review: Zomby - Dedication
Dedication is only Zomby's second proper album, which is a real surprise given the last one came out three or four years ago. Zomby is certainly not an artist who struggles for inspiration, the bastard. The Internet is awash with clips of stuff he has made and semi-shared. The guy infamously writes and then doesn't release billions of tunes. He claims to compose all the time, often merely on his laptop speakers while composing. A lot of the producers I know find it absolutely impossible to put anything together on anything but their studio monitors, fretting over bass clarity and mixdowns. Zomby doesn't give a fuck about that stuff. He'll throw something together on his laptop on a plane and polish it up later, the raw ideas being the important thing.
One listen to Dedication and you can figure out why. The longest track is 4 minutes, quite a few are less than one minute long. This isn't a guy who likes to develop his ideas too much. This is really a series of unfinished sketches. The whole album ends remarkably jarringly, almost as though he hacked the end off the waveform deliberately just to emphasise the point. The listening experience feels deliberately fragmented, as though fragmentation and dislocation are the intended effects of the record. Which is... interesting, certainly quite an arty approach, but is that merely a generous wrapping over a rather half-arsed present?
There's a wealth of ideas here - a lot of ambient chiptune things, some post-dubstep influenced things, even a (probably sampled) jazzy track at one point. But these are extremely undernourished ideas. The album gets away with sounding interesting because it's probably only got as many ideas as most albums fit into the opening five songs, and this way there's no requirement to make any of his doodles complementary. And so you listen to this oddly interesting album, tickled or intrigued by brief suggestions of brilliant ideas that go away as quickly as you've noticed them, and you get an overall sense of incohesion, of flittering ADHD. And at the end of it, with that ridiculously abrupt stop, I'm left thinking "Man, I'm glad I don't have ADHD."
Stupid Arbitrary Rating: 7/10