Kode9 & The Spaceape – ‘Black Sun’ (Hyperdub)

In the 5 years since releasing their debut album ‘Memories Of The Future’, much has changed for the scene that Kode9 & The Spaceape helped create with seminal releases like ‘Sine of The Dub’ and ‘Kingston’ in the mid-noughties.

Dubstep, much like hardcore, jungle and garage before it, has cracked and splintered into a myriad of sub-genres that defy categorisation, opening up a new palette of sounds to producers looking to explore the rhythmic possibilities afforded to the 140bpm spectrum. Yet a sophomore album from one of the scene’s great innovators no longer carries the shock of the new in the same way it would have done circa 2006.

With ‘Black Sun’, Steve Goodman and Stephen Samuel Gordon have created an updated and expanded document of the viral south London sound, with loose garage rhythms as their template, sub-bass as their foundation and abstraction as their reference point. ‘Black Smoke’ and ‘Bullet Against Bone’ rattle with trademark monotone bass and shuffling top end riddims, whilst the snapping junglist vibes of ‘The Cure’ (featuring Shanghai-based vocalist Cha Cha), and ‘Am I’ couple Spaceape’s dread reflections and misanthropic sketches with weaving funk and deep south hip-hop inversions.

Elsewhere, ‘Love Is The Drug’ rolls out the drone house vibes and fractured polyrhythms of recent Kode9 sets, whilst the title track, a revision of the 2009 single of the same name, expertly captures the flair and energy of UK funky and classic Chicago house, yet viewed through a darkened lens.

Lined with a warm atmosphere of experimentation, ‘Black Sun’ is more than just the soundtrack of a scene in flux. Digging deep into the pulsing heart of the ‘hardcore continuum’, it suggests innumerable patterns of development for the future global bass scene. Inspiring stuff.

Louis Cook

‘Black Sun’ is released via Hyperdub on April 18.