You Are Eternity
, March 8th, 2013 08:04
Dadub are powering downriver into a barren jungle clearing where mortal fear and animal energy reign o'er the wee small hours. Gravely enveloping, You Are Eternity hums with transcendent awe and fetid steam. Musically, we're talking broodingly cinematic conceptual techno, and these tracks are layered and tweaked to the cranium-straining levels of intimacy that one would expect from two professional mastering engineers. A continuous piece encompassing twelve tracks woven together, 'You are Eternity' is an ambitious, progressive listen a world away from the welter of raw functionality that currently makes up much of techno's backbone.
Indeed, much of the strongest electronic music over the past couple of years - though musically disparate - has entered a similar headspace. Consider T++'s Wireless EP - real trance, splintered tribal body music - or Shackleton's dread-infused aural ectoplasm, or recent material from the likes of Andy Stott and Samuel Kerridge (whose Auris Interna 12" was mastered by Dadub): sounds that seem to anaesthetise time itself, amongst mud-thick sub-bass barricades.
The most obvious points of reference here, though, are the glacial hypnotic experiments of fellow Italians Donato Dozzy and Neel's Voices From The Lake LP and - above all - Dino Sabatini's bruising Shaman's Path. You are Eternity shares their sensations of stand-alone isolation. Its tracks would be no means easy to take out of their natural habitat - listen individually and you miss the point entirely. Rather like a full on sound art installation, Dadub have created a lush and incredibly detailed acoustic world that deserves to be entered into on its own terms, and requires a real level of commitment from the listener.
'Vibration' opens proceedings, setting the scene with echo-laden effects and humid atmospherics, while 'Truth' leads with spoken word passages from news sources surrounding the banking crisis, as foreboding broken drum passages swell against steeply rising synths. Tension finally breaks in the form of 'Path', which delivers sinewy kicks and depth-charged subs, displaying brutally functional chops in that staggered hinterland between dub and techno. Perhaps best are those fleeting moments which find the pair moving into a full throttle attack. 'Transfer', featuring South London darksider King Cannibal, is a nightmarish halfstep piece which incorporates elements of sheet metal white noise, buried amongst legions of hissing and ticking percussive fragments.
There is also a shamanic aspect to You Are Eternity, with Dadub continually evoking intense meditative states. The central themes of the LP are thus easy to glean – personal regeneration, the evils of unregulated capitalism, the redemptive power of music and what may lie very close to us. 'Life' features samples of a 1950s housewife recounting her experiences with LSD – "if you've never seen it, you'll never know – I feel sorry for you". 'Experience', too, hums with psychotropic portent, soft volleying kicks staggered against a twinkling and slow rising backdrop of expertly placed beeps and tweaks. However, it is the first moment in the album which feels comforting rather than foreboding – warm transcendence after a bleak personal storm, a palpable breakthrough.
Of course, the naysayer could take all this as an overly indulgent exercise, but that would be missing both the fun and the point. After all, we are talking a high concept techno album here, and in the current climate of balls-to-the-wall bangers there's more than enough room for that. You Are Eternity is not po-faced, despite its thematic and sonic weight, it's concise and does the job with a glint. Techno needs records like this now and again - they provide a welcome reminder that the genre still contains vast spaces yet to be explored.