Visions / The Calling
Old Apparatus: Zebulon
The release of two late-summer singles from Mala's on-point label Deep Medi Musik makes fall's arrival a little easier to bear. The first is from none other than dubstep pioneer Cyrus (J. Flynn, also of Random Trio) who's been releasing singles since 2004 on labels such as Pinch's Tectonic and his own imprint Random Trio Productions; he also holds the distinction of being one of the few dubstep producers to have material included in a big-budget feature film, namely Children of Men (which also featured material by Digital Mystikz and Kode9). The single's A-side, “Visions,” is vintage Cyrus: serpentine dubstep powered by a roiling sub-bass throb and speckled with stuttering snares and off-beat cymbal accents—watch for the mid-song breakdown that finds the bass suddenly alone until the drum elements return. Like “Visions,” “The Calling” slithers at an opiated tempo that nevertheless suits its writhing nature. The B-side's a glitchier and even spookier affair than the flip, as a wealth of electronic noises flutters and chatters while the bass-thudding groove crawls below. In truth, the tracks don't sound radically different from the ones featured on his 2007 Tectonic full-length From The Shadows, but there's no denying the two hit hard.
The second release, also a two-track single, is from enigmatic outfit Old Apparatus (identity unknown—Mala perhaps?) and follows the group's self-titled debut issued by Deep Medi earlier this year. First up is “Zebulon,” an industrial-strength dubstep mutant whose mechanical joints wheeze and sputter while a bewitching female vocal glides serenely over the turbulent machine business grinding below. Imagine, if you will, a folksy vocal coupled with rusty industrial wobble and you're halfway there. Guest MC Mowgli strafes “Hammerhand” (originally featured on the previous EP) with a rapid-fire verbal barrage that's so dominant, the tune's instrumental side—a honking, bass-thudding flow of warbling voices and noise—almost gets lost in the process. At the very least, the single illustrates how much room there is for variety within a genre some misguidedly take to be circumscribed by its admittedly strong signifiers.