Sunday, June 23, 2013

Album Review: DU3normal – Flow Frequency (2013)

Following on from the themes explored in the Panda Dub review (below), I thought I’d throw the spotlight on DU3normal, a dub producer from Budapest, Hungary.

DU3normal’s recent album, Flow Frequency, is certainly another prime example of the genre boundary-pushing we looked at in the previous review, and it’s something we’ve now come to expect within the ever evolving form we once knew singularly as “dub”.

Like Panda’s work, software-driven electro/steppa styles are very much to the fore on Flow Frequency, and the album is an exploration into all manner of digital possibilities. Despite the seemingly rather sterile approach to making what has always been the most rootsy and earthy of music, DU3normal somehow conjures up enough sticky magic for this to feel totally authentic.

Part of the reason it works is due to a number of great collaborations, most notably on tracks like ‘Flow’ (with Bandulu Dub), and ‘Steppa Anthem’, which combines the vocal gymnastics of Sensi T with the remixing skills of Injham.

Production is pristine, and at 66 minutes across 17 tracks, it’s a generous listen. If I can fault it, there is a sense that some of this can become a bit samesy at times, but it’s frequently saved by regular excursions into African vibes and otherworldly Eastern moods, the addition of extra spice meaning it never becomes routine or so laidback as to become bland.

The subtle dubstep core right at the heart of Flow Frequency doesn’t really provide the album with any great point of difference from a multitude of similar 2013 releases, but it’s done tastefully enough, and the rhythm and flow of the music always remains intact.

I’m enjoying this album, a lot, and it’s been getting a fair old workout recently. I really like the idea of new technologies expanding forms of music into completely unknown territories, and although live dub played on real instruments by real people will always be preferable to listeners of a certain generation, this digital stuff has its place – especially when it’s done this well.

Best Tracks: ‘Flow’ (with Bandulu Dub), ‘Steppa Anthem’ (with Sensi T), ‘Wet Concrete’, and ‘Sitar Dub’.

Released on the Dan Dada label earlier this year, Flow Frequency can be downloaded here … while the DU3normal Soundcloud page can be found here.

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