CD, Spectraliquid, 2009
I can’t shake the feeling that the previous two chapters of the “Mutant Dubstep” series, on the Greek label Spectraliquid, must have left some people disappointed, with offerings by Ebola and Cardopusher which may have seemed, at best, rushed or uninspired. For the closing chapter, Spectraliquid chose to present a selection of tracks by label artist Mobthrow, providing a highlight to the series but not saving it entirely.
Mobthrow’s potential had already been glimpsed over a year ago in Spectraliquid’s “Konkrete” compilation with the mildly disturbing, but nevertheless energetic, track “Deathstep” – a somewhat memorable piece with a certain melodic balance, which surreptitiously burrowed its way into the listener’s subconscious. Coincidence or not, “Deathstep” is featured again in the third volume of “Mutant Dubstep”, a good chance for those who haven’t heard it the first time to listen to it now. Placed at the beginning of the disc, the other two new original tracks, “Jazz Monsta” and “Breakstar”, give an idea of Mobthrow’s capabilities: the first for layering both melodic ambiances and breakbeats into quality loungey pieces, and the second for composing potentially infectious tracks with good build-ups and a definite groove without resorting to the obvious full-on break assault. “Breakstar” is good stuff, but sounds too restrained; it would be nice to hear the man really cutting loose at some point.
Mobthrow’s remix of The Future Sound Of London, a dub take on “My Kingdom”, would seem to owe more to the original than to Mobthrow’s efforts. Like the original, it still relies essentially on the tribal melodic elements as its main driving force and the effective replacement of rhythmic structures removes some of the original’s organic feel, despite the unifying effect of the remix’s bass line. Mad EP’s work has consistently been one of high quality, and his remix of “Jazz Monsta” does not disappoint in the least, giving it a decidedly different and somewhat nostalgic twist aided by enticing string work.
In short, while it may not save what was a passable series of releases, this is a highlight and a more than acceptable conclusion to it. Perhaps it is a herald for future work by Mobthrow including, hopefully, a full-length release.
— Miguel de Sousa