June 26, 2009

King Midas Sound – Dub Heavy - Hearts & Ghosts + Cool Out 12”s (2009, Hyperdub)

After getting everyone's attention by introducing Burial to the world in '05-'06, Hyperdub has continued to release a steady stream of quality 12”s every few months, including debuts by many other promising artists on the experimental outskirts of the dubstep and hiphop scenes. I love the chiptune-inspired quirkiness and bass heaviness of the Quarta 330, Zomby and Samiyam releases, and the reggae dubstep stylings of both of LV's killer 12”s. More recently, a new duo called King Midas Sound has made an appearance, first with '08s “Cool Out,” which featured one original vocal track and two abstract remixes by cutting-edge, IDM-tinged hiphop heads Dabrye and Flying Lotus. King Midas Sound is a collaboration between Kevin Saunderson, best known for his many releases as The Bug, a punishing, distortion-heavy take on the dancehall and dub sound, and vocalist Roger Robinson, who has several releases of his own on the Altered Vibes label which I haven't heard. Their second 12”, “Dub Heavy – Hearts & Ghosts”, released earlier this month, totally blew me away with its deep, chilled out dub sound. The songs have a traditional dub reggae style to them, but with a futuristic, gritty sonic palette. My first impressions were that it reminded me of the mid-'90s Massive Attack sound, like something from “Protection”, but with a fantastic updated sound that I don't think I've heard anyone else do anything similar to recently, if ever. Both 12”s have elements of down-tempo, hiphop and dub techno, presenting a fascinating blend with a forward-thinking vision of what could be the next step for these genres. “Too Long Dub”, for example, has a pounding 4/4 throb and hissy textures that are reminiscent of Deepchord/Echospace, yet with a different rhythmic sensibility and composition style. According to the King Midas Sound myspace page, there is a full-length entitled “Super Heavy” forthcoming, of which four demo tracks can be heard in their audio player. I will be keeping my eyes peeled for the release date!