Ishan Sound: Forward / Koma

Strategy: Clocky Man / Snowdrift Dub

The fact that Paul Dickow's latest Strategy two-tracker appears on ZamZam automatically clarifies that the single's musical focus will be dub rather than house, techno, or whatever other style the Portland-based producer might currently be exploring. The analog hardware dub of the A-side's “Clocky Man” breezily struts into view and settles into position, readying itself for a bass-grooving stream of jangly percussion accents, synth squelch, and echo effects—four minutes of blissed-out dub skank with a soothing edge. A smattering of disco sneaks into the flip's “Snowdrift Dub” in the form of a bouncy dancefloor groove, but Dickow ensures that the material doesn't drift too far from its dub roots by including rollicking keyboard stabs, a nimble bass pulse, and, most of all, echo-drenched melodica phrases. Get it while you can ‘cause ZamZam has issued the release in a (non-digital) run of 500 seven-inch vinyl copies.

ZamZam's final release of 2013 likewise features the work of a contemporary artist, in this case Cris Ebdon (aka Ishan Sound) who's part of the Bristol scene and the Young Echo Collective as well as a member of the Punch Drunk outfit Zhou. Smeared in crackle and conjuring the image of a dark underground club in Morocco, the A-side's “Forward” weds a haunted flute motif to a classic dub pulse replete with piano stabs and bass pulsations, with the result locating itself midway between Trenchtown and Arabia. As heavy is the B's “Koma,” a creeped-out slice of skullduggery spooked by punchy percussive syncopations and shotgun lashings. The sole complaint in this case simply has to do with brevity: at just under eight minutes, the single's far shorter than one would like, suggesting that a better scenario would have involved four tracks (two per side) of similar material being offered instead a modest two. Of course, the complaint has nothing to do with the content of what has been provided, which is satisfying indeed.

December 2013