Cdatakill: Valentine
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That Zak Roberts' Cdatakill sound defies easy categorization is one of its most appealing qualities and ultimately a testament to the uniqueness of Valentine's sound. Apparently, there was formerly a pronounced breakcore dimension to Cdatakill's sound but little trace of that remains on Valentine. Instead, Roberts opts for hazily textured and hallucinatory trip-hop and dub soundscapes haunted by anguished moans and scuzzy textures. The album's eleven heavily distorted pieces sound like they're being shredded and splintered into pieces by a gauzy screen as they make their way to the listener. Throughout the 41-minute disc, Roberts drenches the material with poisonous bass snarls, shape-shifting tribal breaks, and convulsive dub-clatter. Disoriented voices moan from the center of a violent vortex in “No Brakes” while “Nefertiti Dub,” pistol-whipped by a hugely distorted bass figure, spreads its macabre tentacles in all directions. In addition, knife-edged beats slip and slide in “Two Hammers” as female voices cast their diseased spell over the helpless listener. The album's most arresting moment arrives with the jarring “Yesterdays,” not only an amazing listen in itself but one that assumes an even more astonishing character once one realizes it's a Cdatakill cover of an infamous Billie Holiday torch song. Could that possibly be Lady Day's voice, stretched and strangulated over a throbbing, nightmarish breakcore pulse? It certainly is, but it's also merely one dizzying moment of many on Roberts' provocative collection.

December 2006