Scuba: Sub:stance Vol. 1
Ostgut Ton

That a considerably stronger ‘next generation' feel pervades SUB:STANCE, the latest Ostgut Ton mix, is easily explained by the fact that Scuba is at the helm—Scuba being the production and DJ alias of Paul Rose, also known as the curator of one of the original dubstep labels, Hotflush Recordings (and a recording artist of note in his own right, as the 2008 debut collection, A Mutual Antipathy, proves). Consequently, the mix includes tracks by envelope pushers such as Joy Orbison, Joker, Ramadanman, and DFRNT, among others. A portrait of the dubstep music scene in Berlin, SUB:STANCE therefore brings together two realms: the UK bass music scene and Berlin's Berghain club (along with Paul Fowler, Rose curates the SUB:STANCE night at Berghain, which has featured lineups including the likes of Martyn, The Bug, Joker, and Neil Landstrumm).

The mix at first nods in the direction of the Deepchord and Echospace [Detroit] camps with the deeply textured dub-ambient of Sigha's “Light Swells (In a Distant Space)” before turning its attention to Airhead's Burial-styled “Paper Street,” all percussive richness and soulful vocal drift, and Sigha's percolating stepper “Early Morning Lights.” The energy level increases as we move through Pangaea's suave “Sunset Yellow” to the ecstatic future soul of Joy Orbison's “The Shrew Would Have Cushioned The Blow.” It's the mix trippiest moment thus far, with Joy Orbison stoking vocals and melodic figures to a delirious broil, and nicely paves the way for the urgent funk-house of Untold's “No-one Likes a Smart Arse.” Cuts by Surgeon (“Klonk pt 4”) and DFRNT (“Headspace”) appear before Joy Orbison (again), Mount Kimbie, and Joker set heads spinning with “Hyph Mngo,” a James Blake remix of “Maybes,” and “Psychedelic Runway” respectively. Injecting an Eastern vibe into the set are Shackleton (“It's Time For Love”) and Mala (the pulsating rumble of “Stand Against War”). Pretty much high-energy from start to finish, Scuba's mix is at its best when it's lifted up by the soulful vocal thrust of Joy Orbison's cuts and George Fitzgerald's “Don't You.” There's nothing ‘old school' about the set; Rose wastes no time paying homage to classic house or techno but instead casts his gaze firmly upon the future.

February 2010