Scuba: Triangulation

By , Mar 29 2010

Available on: Hotflush LP

Paul Rose is a busy man. He started Hotflush Recordings in 2003 and has since released dozens of tracks from the likes of Distance, Boxcutter, and the much-hyped Mount Kimbie. He holds a residency at Berlin’s Berghain and has been making a steadily growing number of records under his Scuba alias. Following 2008’s well-received A Mutual Antipathy comes Triangulation, an album that reflects both Scuba’s enduring love for electronic club music and his versatility as a producer.

Gloomy, vaporous intro ‘Descent’ wouldn’t have sounded out of place on Monolake’s Silence, while ‘Latch’ and ‘Three Sided Shape’ could be lost Burial sides circa Untrue. Playing to weekend crowds in Berlin must have had an effect on Scuba’s music, and this seems to be confirmed by the half-step techno of ‘Minerals’. The kick that falls on the first and third beat of each bar builds with growing malevolence, although never quite breaks into the pummel threatened.

Scuba has also clearly maintained a keen interest in developments in British bass music. The nagging honk and smartly syncopated snares of ‘On Deck’ suggest he has been listening intently to Roska over the past year, while the pounding tribalism of ‘Tracers’ could be a stray colt from Untold’s Hemlock stable. While predominantly floor-orientated, Triangulation contains moments of startling sentimentality. ‘Before’ is a metallic, space funk slow jam, while ‘So you think you’re Special’ sounds like dubstep performed by Fleetwood Mac.

The trio that close the record should, by rights, be heating clubs all summer. The chugging ‘Heavy Machinery’ comes across like spectacularly out-of-whack Belgian new beat, while the flail of ‘Glance’ and gaseous minor chords of ‘Lights Out’ will leave ravers slack-jawed at the end of the night.

I’d argue, and this is entirely subjective, that Triangulation isn’t really an album. It lacks the self-contained conceptual cohesion that seems, to me anyway, to be a fundamental characteristic of full-length albums; the tracks that comprise it could be rearranged into virtually any order and the overall effect would be more or less the same.

Triangulation instead feels like a display of standalone works, rather than a single grand statement. It’s like Tate Modern’s permanent collection in comparison with the Turbine Hall. When the individual works are as magnificent as these, this is neither a problem, nor a criticism.

The Turbine Hall’s often shit anyway.

Colin McKean

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