It’s not often an artist releases an epic double album, and it goes seemingly completely under the radar, but by all means that’s what seemed to happen to mysterious dubstep artist Zomby’s With Love. This is his third proper album, though he has had an endless amount of mixtapes, EPs, remixes, and other collections. The British producer brings a good name to dubstep, a genre that has very much been corrupted and altered in the last few years. Rather than screw, distort, and crank to 11 like the Skrillex disciples, Zomby keeps it bass-driven and mesmerizing, cold yet deeply soulful. His latest, With Love is an absolute epic and swirling trip to get lost in deep into the night.
“As Darkness Falls” sets the mood with its swirling video-game blips circling above the dark underbelly of bass ‘n’ drums. Vocals pop up only every 5 or 6 tracks, but when they are used they are always tasteful and add to the menacing dip into the black hole that is With Love. “If I Will” puts a beat-boxing vocal in direct opposition to a tiptoeing xylophone sneaking across the floor. “Isis” takes a disco drum and strong bass riff and lifts off into space with key and synth flourishes galore. “Overdose” ratchets up the drums ‘n’ bass to a whole new level, with haunting synth and unrelenting drums.
“Pray For Me” plays out like a signature Zomby track: with a circular synth line that hypnotizes you and slowly takes you into a deeper and deeper trance. With dance music in general, repetition is at the core of getting people into a deep groove, and Zomby uses repetition as well as any. The transfixing synth lines go on and on, and 33 tracks and 80 minutes, the British producer has more than enough time to pull you deep in and then set you free, in an absolutely masterful way.
Deep into With Love, the album really mellows out and flourishes under the bright lights. Songs like “Glass Ocean” and “Digital Smoke” paint vivid pictures with piano, synths, and creative rhythms. In a year of strong electronic releases (Disclosure, Thundercat, Jon Hopkins), Zomby’s With Love double album opus may be standing as tall as any at the end of 2013.
Can’t Miss: “If I Will”, “Glass Ocean”, “Overdose”, “Rendezvous”
Can’t Hit: none