Reviews

Crooklyn Dub Outernational

Based in Baltimore and run by producer Skiz "Spectre" Fernando, Wordsound is one of the strongholds for the electronic/dub/hip-hop crossover that germinated in mid-Eighties No Wave New York and has occasionally reared its head through sundry mutant genres like trip-hop and minimal techno. This latest volume by Crooklyn Dub Outernational isn't really a group effort per se, but the latest in a series of soundclashes assembled by Spectre, an overview of sonic damage and instrumental chaos. Though basically a compilation, it's an unusually strong one, veering effortlessly from French producers Brain Damage and Lab's epic dub "Ph neutre" to Twilight Circus's funky blend of congas and echoing bass, "Twilight Circus Meets Wordsound Inna Crooklyn 2003 Style."

These tracks offer blunted transcendence through illbient effects -- eerie, percolating guitars; whirlpools of synthesizers; and muffled, polyrhythmic percussion -- and bear titles like "The Soundless Hum of Prayer" and "Pleasure Ruin Dub." Although Certified Dope slips dramatically in effectiveness near its end, most of the thirteen cuts are appropriately hallucinogenic without reverting to production gimmicks, conjuring a vivid, voiceless landscape.

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Mosi Reeves
Contact: Mosi Reeves