Lloop: 60 Hertz
The Agriculture

qpe: the one true constant
The Agriculture

Make sure you play Lloop's 60 Hertz first and qpe's the one true constant second. The former's a punchy, club-ready exercise in dubstep that evokes Bristol a whole lot more than The Agriculture's Brooklyn base while qpe's outing, on the other hand, is the perfect platter for easing spent clubbers through the after-hours comedown.

In his latest Lloop collection, one-time We™ member Rich Panciera expands upon his dub-noir style by adding dubstep muscle along with subtle shadings of dancehall and hip-hop to the mix. A perfect opener, “Autumn Rains Until Those of Spring” delivers an expert lesson in bass science and serpentine groove-making with female vocal elements, both natural and treated, and whip-crack snares intensifying the track's mysterious aura. Equally earthy and spacey, “Immovable” fuses a brutal, bass-swollen pulse with shards of tripped-out melodies beamed down from on high. Garbled vocal treatments lend the tripped-out dub of “Lei-Tzu” a smoky, Middle Eastern vibe while broken dancehall beats form the backbone of “Conch.” Near album's end, “The Cholas” and “ODB Scripta Elegans” revisit the heavy dubstep attack of the opener to equally brain-addling effect. That Panciera, who began working in sound studios at the age of sixteen, helped build Brooklyn 's Bass Mind studio in 1983 seems entirely fitting, given the deep bass lines that power rootsy riddims in “Ritter Dub.” With a modicum of fuss, Lloop's forty-eight-minute release serves up nine settings of tasty beats and bass throb that last long enough to state their case convincingly without overstaying their welcome.

the one true constant presents fifteen new variations on Kacy Wiggins' “quiet personal electronics” (qpe) style. The moniker's aptly chosen as Wiggins eschews grand gestures and frenetic overkill for an unassuming and soothing style that goes down so smoothly its finer details can go underappreciated. Rooted in instrumental hip-hop, the music's warm vibe and seductive bass-and-beats grooves is a balm to the too-stressed soul. Wiggins adds to the music's allure by injecting the album's fifteen tracks (all christened with physics-related titles for some reason) with subtle doses of jazz swing, dub, and funk flavour. Anchored by a nimble bass throb and a lulling head-nodding rhythm over which blurry clouds of electronics roll, “10, 11 or 26” is emblematic of the qpe style. To its credit, Wiggins' music opts for understatement by design, but in doing so it risks being heard as background mood music, albeit mood music of a particularly lush kind. It's qpe's fresh beats that prevent it from doing so, as punchy late-inning cuts such as “Magnetic Monopoles,” “Quark-Nova,” and “Mother-Daughter Nuclei” demonstrate with their tight fusions of dub, funk, and hip-hop rhythmning.

April 2009