Release Date: Oct 25, 2011
Record label: !K7
Genre(s): Electronic, Dubstep
With a DJ mix program, there's always a very fine line to be navigated: it's the one that separates seamlessness from monotony. On the one hand, you want the tracks to flow cleanly from one into the other, which implies the necessity of careful beat matching and artful use of the fader -- but a consistent tempo means the risk of tedium. Lock yourself into a specific style (house or dubstep or techno) for 76 minutes and you compound the risk of boring everyone in the room.
There's been no shortage of dialogue around how dubstep has exploded and splintered into countless fragments-- disparate but still interlinked shards reflecting shades of techno, house, garage, drum'n'bass and everything else under the sun. English-born Paul Rose has historically been one of the earliest agents of this dubstep disintegration, making the move to techno haven Berlin early and establishing an interest in the genre that soon became commonplace among many of his genre contemporaries. Founding what would become one of the leading institutions in the techno/dubstep fusion with his Hotflush Recordings label and unprecedentedly landing a residency at the world's most infamous techno club, Berghain, Rose-- better known as Scuba, SCB, or Spectr-- has been a leading light in dissolving the boundaries between different worlds of dance music.
It's one thing for a mix CD to put across a sense that the listener is in expert hands. There's not a second you're unaware of it during Scuba's volume of DJ-Kicks—the Berghain regular tasked himself with delivering something akin to his final set of the night at the Berlin club, which typically runs over three hours, and it's easy to hear that he's condensed a long set's progression into a CD's length. But it's another to give the impression that you're having a really good time putting all those records together, and in that sense Scuba's DJ-Kicks succeeds handsomely as well.
Paul Rose, aka Scuba, is one of the most progressive, most respected DJs currently trading in the type of electronic music known as dubstep. Loosely described as a combination of dub, techno, UK garage, and drum’n'bass, dubstep has for many become synonymous with a wailing, whirring, wobbly sonic onslaught that is energetic but wears out its welcome quickly. But Rose operates beyond those parameters.
Writing about electronic music can be a daunting task, especially if you’re talking about someone like Scuba. As one of the primary producers responsible for dubstep’s current mutations, getting any specific handle on his persona is something he’s categorically tried to avoid. When left to his devices on a DJ-Kicks comp, we’re offered a broad platter of mid-tempo tones; techno, downtempo, dubstep, and even a few flashes of house, all bumping into each other and sounding strangely right at place.