A living dubstep artefact from one of the scene’s pioneers.
Adam Kennedy 2010-10-28
Take five minutes off at the coalface of any genre as fast moving as dubstep and before you know it the entire landscape has changed beyond recognition. And whichever way you look at it, dubstep has evolved immeasurably since multi-alias-wielding Manchester producer Dave Jones’ debut album as Maddslinky in 2003.
Best known before then as Zed Bias, most notably for 2-step anthem Neighbourhood, his celebrated turn-of-the-millennium work helped to incubate the fledgling noise of dubstep before it barely had a name. In resurrecting an under-appreciated yet influential alter ego here, Make a Change is often ahead of the curve once more.
It feels, in many ways, a perfectly timed return to remind the mushrooming current crop how it’s done, even if Jones steadfastly refuses to stick to a solitary sound throughout. It’s possible, in fact, to count on one hand the instances where the layman could isolate dubstep’s signature burble. Events take an interesting turn in Make a Change’s collaboration-heavy nature too, numerous guests across 14 tracks aiding Maddslinky’s second coming, the cast spread from heavyweights to stalwarts to relative unknowns.
One such venture guaranteed to divert attention is 50 Shades of Peng, joining forces with Croydon dubstep don Skream. Five minutes of shuffling orchestral urban paranoia, it builds upon Skream’s watermark productions before he set eyes on bigger things with present project Magnetic Man. It is, quite simply, engrossing.
Elsewhere, styles switch between almost every tune. Lionheart mines similar vibes to Roots Manuva’s dub re-fixes, Mr Scruff contributes squelching cheek to Dub Is For Real, and by the time we reach Fly, vocals courtesy of drum‘n’bass/garage mouthpiece-for-hire Jenna G, a UK funky slink is running strong. The funkier exploits don’t always hit home, though, particularly when soul veteran Omar over-sweetens Special with the teeth-cracking equivalent of 10 sugars in your cuppa.
Gripes notwithstanding, Make a Change is almost – in the best possible manner – a living dubstep artefact. In melting down what has gone before, then forging it into a whole new future-gazing alloy, Maddslinky claims a rightful place on the frontline of the post-dubstep world’s continuing musical metamorphosis.