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Archive Review: Crewdson – Dust EP

May 9, 2011

Dust Ep review

Label: Slowfoot
Release date: 13/12/10
Link: Myspace

2010 has been the year of splintered music, where there is a fractured and willing audience to be found for every niche, subgenre and offshoot. Stepping out of the towering shadow of dubstep has been a wave of a not-easily-defined sound that flirts with glitch, oft contains groundwork in 2-step and techno in a sound that would once possibly – and lazily – be known as IDM. Emphasising this has been the breakthrough of James Blake, Mount Kimbie, Darkstar et al, but there is a general bubbling bubbling underbelly of innovation and creativity in this ‘post-dub’ world, heavy quotation marks necessary there. So, what’s next?

Step forward Crewdson, alias Hugh Jones. A Goldsmiths alumni, Crewdson it is worth noting resides in SE London. His sound in Dust – a stylish, bold and enigmatic debut EP, is unmistakably from these urban plains; the introspective, spatially aware murky sound reflecting the after-dark landscape as so many others have captured currently. And while it is worth noting the habitat of the area (scene?), to pontificate about the specifics is to almost ruin it, so let’s leave it that unspoken ambiguous level where it remains best. Go read a Burial interview for an infinitely superior articulation of this.

‘Dust Crawlers’ strikes the opposing force of being busy with more spacious elements and overall feel. The beats are reminiscent of Flying Lotus and account for the ‘busy’ element for the track, whilst the soft synth melodies run smoothly throughout with the whole track a delicately crafted beast. It’s not spacious in the eerie, ghostly way of say a Becoming Real, we’re in subtler, pacier territory here – more of a foot in techno is present.

Second track ‘Mime’ that was leaked earlier this year to hugely positive feedback, is featured here under the guise of a remix by Grasscut. Here we’re treated to manipulated vocals very akin to Dan Deacon, if Deacon was to actually calm-the-fuck down and hang out in an abandoned tower block, whilst with this a vast terrain of electronic snippets pop-up constantly.

Another curveball is encountered in the fidgety ‘Pet’ – fidgety in the sense of that the track rarely stays in the same place for more than 30 seconds; we even expand into jazz territory (though nods are prelevant throughout the EP) towards the end when Jones whacks in a saxophone.

The final and fourth track is a superbly crafted remix by Bass Clef of ‘Goodbye Old Friend’. It’s the most techno-inclined of the EP, starting with a simple loop before adding new samples every 16 bars or so, slowly building the layers with a repetitive rhythm and turns into a something of a beautiful monster. An anecdote to the restless nature of Pet.

With a debut full-length album rumoured to be out in the second quarter of 2011, Crewdson on this riveting form will emerge triumphantly from the shadows of his contemporaries, only to scuttle away into his own dark monolithic, brooding shadow of beguiling imagination he can claim as his own. Go. And. Get.

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