Sunday, 11 February 2007

Shackleton/Highroad review

Shackleton/Highroad (Rooted/Cosies 10th February)

I’m writing this from my desk at work where I am required to keep my beady eye on students stupid enough to squander their Sundays in the library, and trust me, the day after any Cosies evening, work is not where you want to be. Particularly if you have just been burgled. Although I got off scot free, none of my stuff being taken, I still don’t relish the idea of some stranger poking round my house whilst I am sleeping with dubstep ringing through my dreaming brain.
But enough! On with the review…it’ll be as patchy as ever I’m afraid, I just always end up a bit drunken when I hit that basement’s dance floor.
The night opened with Shackleton doing an in store gig at Rooted. I don’t know who came up with Rooted in store gig idea, but my god, it is a good one. I saw Bass Clef play there a few months ago for the last Highroad, and it is such a lovely shop and a really excellent opportunity to get a sample of the artist – good for listeners and for sales too I guess.
The set opened with minimal dubstep sounds, a cool and steady bass that was so LOUD the ceiling of the shop started to crumble and a big lump hit one boy on the nose. (I was one of only two girls – weird). Shackleton creates a central pattern in the bass and seems to build his tune around it in a way that is subtly effective. In particular one of the tracks showed this off masterfully. The bass seemed to come from another world, really dirty, really distorted, exploding over the track in a repeated pattern, then switching tone or speed slightly to completely move the mood and tune on. You couldn’t help getting lost in it. As the set progressed, the slower beats speeded up, and he presented a much choppier sound. There was a greater use of more African/Indian drum samples which I think is really important in dubstep, a real appreciation of the roots of the music. Plus it just sounds wicked, it brings in another layer. The beats became more broken and chopped up, building into a real frenetic and cacophonic energy. All of it pointed to real understanding of the background to music, looking at where it came from and where it is now. Or maybe he just wanted chopped beats because it sounds really really good.
I think Shackleton is pretty masterful at good layering, and I am such a sucker for that. His tracks really get that slow build up, starting with minimal sounds to build and build into being really big tunes. Although he is a dubstep artist (artist?) his sound isn’t confined, you can see the influence of techno and Asian sounds in there too, which is what makes his music so interesting.
Anyway, quick pop back home to change and eat, and off I went to Cosies dressed as a Spanish peasant. I arrived to find Rooted’s Chris on the decks, playing some fucking awesome reggae tunes. It was exactly what I needed, Turbulence’s Notorious is just beautiful, mixing in to Jennifer Lara’s Queen in my Empire from Rhythm and Sounds, shouldn’t work said Chris, but it does. Nothing like a bit of reggae to start (or end for that matter) an evening. Peverelist then stepped up to the decks to play some deeper, dubbier sounds, dropping lovely track by Gatekeeper/Myst, putting a more dubstep vibe back into proceedings. The dance floor was quickly filling up, and was rammed by the time Rob Smith began to play. Say what you like, the man is a Bristol legend and always a pleasure to see and hear. He continued what seemed like the evolution of the music that evening, keeping the dark dub beats but with a bit more hecticness, trippier sounds. I’ve said it before, dubstep to me is all in the progression of how it has come out of different influences, different movements and brought together by this love for music, so a good night is one that shows off this to the best ability, and Highroad nailed it.
But then I had to go home because I was drunk and so I can’t finish this review…..

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