• Vex'd - Degenerate

    Reviewed by DG, othermusic, Aug 05 (othermusic.com)

    <b> Vex'd </b> - Degenerate

    VEX'D
    Degenerate
    (Planet Mu)

    "Destruct"
    "Thunder"

    I don't know much about the two guys behind the Vex'd. A friend, who recently got back from a trip to London, suggested that I look out for their debut album on Planet Mu. I did, and now I can't stop listening. Degenerate is a limited two-CD collection of new material (Disc-1) and old singles (Disc-2) by this duo. It's the freshest thing that I've heard come out of the grime/dubstep-2-step/breaks/drum 'n' bass/drill 'n' bass scene in quite some time. Bridging the off-kilter, rapid-steady pulse of 2-step or D 'n' B and the shredded digital aesthetics of the grime and breaks genres, the music is sure to tear the roof off some unsuspecting listeners homes, or send the diehard raver into an ecstatic frenzy. The rhythms are hard, tight, and irresistible. You'll be entranced by the start-stop distortion, the time-stretched synths, understated hip-hop, reggae, and techno references, and the sharp, shimmering sounds coming from the speakers. Vex'd are the toast of the Dubstep scene at the moment, and it's obvious why; they make infectious dance music.

    The blazing first single, "Pop Pop," is included here, with a V.I.P. remix. You've heard all these elements before (dark synths, whip-snapping snares, bowel-rumbling bass, pounding kick drums, and stretched vocal drops,) but Vex'd's approach is both fresh and instantly classic. Check out tracks like "Thunder," "Fire," "Lion," "Smart Bombs," and "Destruction;" its all dark, dangerous and explosive, for sure. Their use of space and silence within the five-to-seven-minute-long cuts, is probably the most intoxicating skill of their productions. Aside from the rhythms, the sound is most reminiscent of Photek's classic releases. The duo's intentional drop-ins/drop-outs and sonic manipulations work its way into the head and down the spine. Minimal elements (electronic bass, drums, synths) make up the music's foundation with digital treatments that take you into the dark and frenzied regions of rave culture, conjuring images of glow sticks dancing in the air, sweat dripping down your face and back, eyes glazed.

    This debut from Vex'd is better than the grime comps on Rephlex, and much more raw and rave influenced than any of the MCs currently riding that wave. Another interesting aspect of this record would be the slight variations of the rhythm styles from all the aforementioned sub-genres. Vex'd seem to have taken the last 10 years of underground music, in its different mutations, and blended them all together into one cohesive album. If you're into the likes of Venetian Snares, Team Shadetek, the ragga-dub influence of classic D 'n' B, producers like Dj/Rupture, Mutamassik and Muslimgauze, or if you're just waiting for the UK to give you a grime classic not aimed at the pop charts, here ya go. Not for the lightweight, but don't say I didn't warn you…fear not the bass. Or a good rave. Another "lighter in the air" type of t'ing.

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