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Digi-Dub – Scrap Bodies

Label: Digi-Dub Format: CD

Digi-Dub - Scrap BodiesThe sounds on this recording were originally derived from pieces of detritus found at the Skrot Centralen scrapyard in Uppsala, Sweden, and composed into the Scrap Bodies soundtrack for the Su-En Butoh Company for their world tour of the dance performance. Lee Digidub and friends – Dodo, Liquid Acrobat, Egon Zoo, King Bimble – have taken the basic samples and put them through their studios and all manner of effect, turning them into a barrage of melodic in their usual rhythmic mould.

First the obvious comparision to Einstürzende Neubauten, and 1/2 Mensch in particular – which was also used for a Butoh dance video: the Digi-Dub crew have different roots in the Techno-Dub they helped define, but there are natural similarities to be found in the metallic and organic sound sources. Rhythmically, Scrap Bodies falls more easily into digital loops and grooves, with the feeling of much more technology being applied to the sounds. Neubauten tend towards the analogue method, taking a keen interest in the live production of music from junk. This is in no way to make any less of Digi-Dub’s results, and is mentioned here more by way of contrast. Also worth reflecting on is the theme to the Channel 4 TV gameshow Scrapyard, which takes a related slant on the use of recycled sound to introduce a programme in which contestants make devices such as catapults or various forms of transport including rockets from the resources to be found in a heap of the rubbish technological civilization leaves behind.

The album has a natural flow as each track melts into the next, the whole underpinned by skanking loops of bass tones, a clatter of abrasive percussion and the melodies of screeching, scraped metal on top. There are slower build-ups like the booming “Tiegel” and “Scrapper”, both of which wind gentle echoed melodies over some deep low end with marvellously enveloping warmth, while “Scraphop” boasts a big funky beat among the rattle of steel. Liquid Acrobat takes things into Drum & Bass territories, as is only right for a genre which exists largely in the realm of recycled sounds. Egon Zo makes more of a scuttling interpretation, shuffling into more obviously Techno directions, while Dodo opts for the rewound delay of the higher end, making the scrap shimmer into an Electo Gamelan two-step.

It’s not all about metal though, as “Metal vs Wood” makes an urgenly propulsive dancing clink and crash from the elements, emerging into furious polyrhythms and snarling grinds. The sound of a large amount of rubbish being churned around in “Dumper II” has been worked into curious resemblance to the sounds of a more natural environment, and the closing “Lullaby” marks a return to ambient silence, fading out a whispering melody from the yard. Scrap Bodies is a fine release (soon to be accompanied by a film), and an excellent example of the benefits of a restricted and/or site-specific set of samples for the production of digital electronic music of powerful effectiveness.

-Freq1C-

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