Zomby is one of the few musical artists and producers worthy of the mystique he evokes. Inexplicably ahead of the curve, his 2008 debut, Where Were You In 92, may be one of the most important and underrated electronic albums of the past twenty years. Acting as an established bridge between yesteryear’s synth-based dancefloor innocence and the enigmatic ambience that currently dominates the scene today, 92 also embraced the genre’s more postier aspects before Dubstep had even left the ground. So it comes as no surprise that 2011's Dedication arrives shrink-wrapped with the Post-Dubstep calling card.
However, those expecting Zomby to follow the lead of James Blake by streamlining his experimental tendencies will be frustratingly disappointed with Dedication. While far from inaccessible (although it has every right to be), it’s not the anthemic pulse-pounder many fanboys were expecting in light of the success of Blake and other artists such as Burial. Instead, Dedication is moody, particular, and kind of brilliant. It often seems reluctant to fully give itself away, opting instead to resemble a dubbier version of Muhammad Ali- circling the listener before coiling around us in brief machine gun-style bursts only to vanish moments later. Certain songs abruptly stop mid-progression, while others feature seamless transitions- Zomby is truly answering to no one here. Both patient and astoundingly precise, he has created something every bit as haunting and intermittently breathtaking as Burial’s Untrue LP. While at thirty minutes, Dedication’s brevity robs it of Untrue's inherent gravitas- this compact structure does render Dedication less fatiguing than it easily could have been. Therefore, we are more apt to indulge in Zomby’s seemingly endless ideas, concepts, unorthodox time signatures, 8-bit noises, odd homages where you would least expect them, and this is all before Noah “Panda Bear” Lennox shows up to contribute his vocal services to “Things Fall Apart”. Despite these overwhelming characteristics, somehow Dedication never suffocates the listener. If anything, it pushes us farther away the closer we get. And of course, that only makes us love this innovative collection of sounds even more.
STANDOUT TRACKS INCLUDE:
- Fr. Jones