Kush Arora: Dub Elements: Ocean
Record Label Records

Sote: Wake Up
Record Label Records

Looking like a pancake-flattened bowling ball, the marble-coloured 12-inch Dub Elements: Ocean by San Francisco-based drummer/producer Kush Arora drops three enticing and exotically-seasoned digi-dub tracks for your aromatic consideration. Side A's “Surf's Up,” a collab with Luke Argilla, opens by draping exotic santoor licks over a suitably skulking dubstep rhythm and cavernous bass wobble, after which Maneesh the Twister and Punjabi toaster Gurmeet help Kush blend Indian elements and dub skank in “Surya Dub” and Process Rebel adds guitar to the stepwise flow of “Boss Strutt Dub.” On Dub Elements: Ocean (and the From Brooklyn to SF album too), Kush 's spicy fusion of Bhangra, dancehall, and dub offers a refreshing twist to the global dub sound.

Sote's 12-inch Wake Up comes packaged in light aqua vinyl that's considerably brighter than its crushing sonic material. For the release, Iranian artist Ata Ebtekar rescued three cuts from Warp's Electric Deaf sessions and then put the classic rave material through a guitar distortion rig, resulting in broiling bangers like the A-side's title cut. After an opening of throbbing bass pulsations and writhing beat squelch, the piece leavens its frenetic attack with something a little less ferocious before again cranking up the intensity for the final laps. “Trip” revisits the calming episode heard earlier with a leisurely study of jazz-tinged jungle scenery while intense electro patterning in “Aroma Therapy” references Kraftwerk and a relatively spacious arrangement allows the tune's dub bass core to move temporarily to the forefront. Hardcore and raw yet musical and accessible too.

November 2007