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Dadub – ‘You Are Eternity’ (Stroboscopic Artefacts)

‘You Are Eternity’ is one continuous piece of music. From the opening ‘Vibration’, each track is part of a context that is, by no mistake, overwhelming. Daniele Antezza and Giovanni Conti fully exploit the album format and – in both a sonic and creative sense – go above and beyond their handful of releases to date.

Stroboscopic Artefacts boss, Lucy, explained to me in an unpublished part of our interview that Dadub, from the very start, didn’t want this album to be pressed to vinyl, for the very outermost frequencies would be lost. This mentality, coupled with the emphasis on tension, space, depth and socio-political undertones, make the tag ‘dance music’ seem inappropriate. They have a huge vision for their project and beleive in its power to convey a message; through armageddon soundscapes and polemic Henry Waxman, Alan Greenspan and Fela Kuti samples, they have their say. Don’t expect melody: if ‘You Are Eternity’ is really inspired by ‘economics, society, politics [and] contemporary thought’, their world view is certainly bleaker than mine. These themes far outweigh any duty to functionality, and allow Dadub to experiment way past the bounds of ‘Monad VIII’ and ‘The Way To Moksha’.

It’s not functional, but ‘You Are Eternity’ is far from just atmospherics. When called upon, the pair don’t shy away from rough drum workouts, closely compressing the accumulated layers around deep and engaging percussion. A highlight comes in ‘Transfer’, the collaboration with Ninja Tune’s King Cannibal. Its slo-mo drums and crunching noise wouldn’t sound out of place in a heavy metal album, and provide one of the album’s few stop-in-your-tracks moments. ‘Life’ and ‘Circle’, the track made with Edit Select, are also prime examples. ‘Arrival’ another: it’s the first time we really see Dadub sacrifice depth, allowing a dynamically-mixed clutter of mid range frequencies to become the peak of the album’s energy, whilst punching in overdriven kicks to heighten the effect.

Where it may lack the adventurous highs of Lucy‘s ‘Wordplay For Working Bees’ or Xhin‘s ‘Sword’, it makes up in saturated atmospherics. The absence of colour and vibrancy is notable and deliberate, emphasised in the tonal and stylistic similarities between ‘Life’ and ‘Death’. Each interlude is instead drenched in panning textures and full of natural detail. I had this balance down as a potential stumbling block, but Dadub handle it with guile and – perhaps more importantly – praiseworthy restraint.

They claim what makes the Artefacts Mastering Studio special is the emotion they leave in the music, the imperfections and the dirt. In two years spent on intricate sound design, Dadub recreate an analogue warmth, merely through DAWs and digital effects machines, and in the complex mixdown, find a potent balance between polished and murky, between technical and creative. They make the kind of music that demands an LP to fully flourish, if their records to date hadn’t already, ‘You Are Eternity’ places Dadub as high as any in Stroboscopic’s distinguished roster.

Richard Akingbehin

‘You Are Eternity’ is out on February 18 via Stroboscopic Artefacts.