KODE9 & THE SPACEAPE: Black Sun (Hyperdub Records)


Posted on Apr 26th 2011 12:30 am

Filed in Albums | Tags: , ,
Comments (0)

Kode 9 & The Spaceape: Black Sun

Black Sun
Hyperdub Records 2011
12 Tracks. 46mins33secs

Amazon UK: CD | LP | DLD US: CD | LP | DLD Boomkat: CD | LP | DLD iTunes: DLD

In the five years or so that separate Kode9 and The Spaceape’s two albums, dubstep has grown from a fringe underground movement to just the latest bandwagon for the mainstream record industry to jump on. If the role played by Kode9 in this democratisation has been somewhat pivotal, from strings of EPs and a seminal debut recorded with the Spaceape to spreading the word via his regular DJ sets and channeling a host of talents, from Burial and Ikonika to Terror Danjah and King Midas Sound through the Hyperdub creative hub, his approach has remained totally uncompromising, something confirmed at length on his latest collaborative work with The Spaceape, Black Sun, which follows the pair’s 2009 EP of the same title.

The pair have cranked the pace up a few notches and sharpened the angles of their beats and grooves, but the essence of Memories Of The Future is still essentially driving this set. The ambience is suitably dark and twisted, Spaceape’s almost cold and mechanical vocal delivery, used to articulate tales of impending doom infiltrate pretty much every segment of this record, occasionally punctuated by additional contributions from Shanghai-based singer Cha Cha, while Kode9 layers sleek slabs of synths, bubbling electronics and razor-sharp beats to propel the whole thing on. As he spreads his reach over the hectic broken breaks of Black Smoke and The Cure, post acid rave flavours of Am I or Green Sun and elegant dance floor moments such as Love Is The Drug or Black Sun (Partial Eclipse), Kode9 pushes the boundaries of his realm without the least threatening its core essentials.

There are unexpected hints of Boards Of Canada-style aged electronics on Hole In The Sky and Otherman, while Promises earlier has a vague Trans Europe Express outline, but these are merely echoes of Kode9’s expert synth work. Here, he opts once again for overtly vintage electronic sounds and textures, but what results is utterly modern and fresh. He conveys a vast scope of emotions by using a much broader palette than on Memories, but this never distract from Spaceape’s contribution. In fact, if the pair worked in deep symbiosis on their debut album, their relationship has continued to mature considerably over the years to reach a much deeper level of complicity. It feels at times as if Kode9 deliberately places sounds in contrast to Spaceape’s vocal tone, while at others, he appears to almost emulate his syncopated delivery through his beats and synth work. This is particularly potent on tracks such as Black Smoke, Am I or The Cure, where Kode9’s acrid lines cut through Spaceape’s vocals, while on Promises, Neon Red Sign or Bullet Against Bone, the same warmth radiate from the music and from the voice, however treated it is.

With Black Sun, Kode9 and The Spaceape have successfully moved on from their debut, and, while the album is still infused with some of the pair’s original sombre angular textures, it showcases a more upfront and upbeat approach. Ultimately though, Black Sun, like its predecessor, is an incredibly dense and impactful affair which reveals the depths of its many layers with time.


Kode9 (MySpace) | Hyperdub Records
Amazon UK: CD | LP | DLD US: CD | LP | DLD Boomkat: CD | LP | DLD iTunes: DLD

Filed in Albums | Tags: , ,
Comments (0)

Comments are closed.