Exorcise the Demons

by

comment

On its full-length follow-up to last year’s Controlled Developments EP, Photek-protégé-outfit Source Direct proves itself to be the UK drum ’n’ bass scene’s darkest star. Tracks such as "Mind Weaver" exaggerate hardstep and techstep jungle’s mix of menace and kineticism with slasher film eeriness, grinding black chrome basslines and an arcing – if overwrought – sense of dub paranoia. Sometimes the theater-for-the-ear approach is as gimmicky as it is clever: "Concealed Identity," the most straight-ahead, jump-up jungle track here, builds its rhythm pattern out of actual martial arts film sound effects – clanging metal, sliced air, etc. Likewise, "Dubstar" wakes up a hollowed-out, dancehall, reggae-style two-step with video game sounds.

But in a genre where the style often is the substance, SD’s dark, brooding style can, at times, be limited. Source Directors Jim Baker and Phil Aslet are indeed masters of the cinematic possibilities of d ’n’ b – so much so that the more pragmatic junglist Squarepusher once called their work "dark cheese." And on "Haunted," an ill-fated exercise in tension-building, the start-stop drums, gumpy, rolling bass and sci-fi synths are so dark and cheesy they only serve to constipate the track.

While you can’t be too hard on the Sourcers for being inconsistent – this is, after all, partially a compilation of old tracks pulled together with a few new sides for a proper American full-length – the standout tracks only make the dark that much cheesier. Compared to the lost-score-to-Alien 3 breakbeat drama of "Technical Warfare" – with its phantasmagoria of sound stabs and creepy and nauseous synths – the lesser tracks are, in the words of Casey Kasem, "fuckin’ ponderous." A Pyrrhic victory for the darkside.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at letters@metrotimes.com.

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.