Evaluated by Claude Lemaire. Cloud Seed is Vex'd's second and final album. The renowned British Dubstep duo of Jamie Teasdale and Roly Porter have at long last completed a project that assembles tracks recorded between and Featuring guests Warrior Queen, Anneka and Jest, this eight track double LP intrigued me Demon Driver - Yngwie Malmsteen - Eclipse to investigate further.
Like any kind of music genre, Dubstep has more than one facet to offer. I was already familliar with the more 'traditional' forms which include fast paced rhythmic syncopation, sweeping low frequencies and prodigious bass density. These extrovert qualities clearly drawing roots from 'drum and bass', Jungle, 2-step and of course Dub.
Sven Sauer's front cover with it's low-key two-tone 'segued' photos, conjures up a dark industrial bleak and cold future; something not too far Bar Kimura (Jamie Vexd Remix) - Vexd - Cloud Seed (Vinyl a post apocalyptic landscape.
As we shall soon discover, it also renders well the 'feel' of the album. The semi-gloss finish adds a nice touch to this efficient but rather austere packaging.
The LP's are housed in quality white paper sleeves only, so one must take care of not scratching the surfaces and static may build up over time. The vinyl was flat and black with nice groove modulations indicative of promissing deep bass 'explorations'.
All things being equal, this reduces high frequency distortion. But all things are rarely equal. Cutting at 45 rpm would have been probably pushing it at the limit considering the typical frequency spectrum of dubstep. From the start the cutting level on side A is quite loud especially after following the Cars MoFi reissue but no more so than normal 'drum and bass' or Techno material.
Opening with " Take Time Out ", guest singer Annette Henry aka Warrior Queen lends her voice to a slow repetitive rhythm dressed in Industrial underpinnings. The drum beat is tight, highs are agressive and there is compression tending to early listener fatigue. Not a great starter in my opinion but we continue with Again highs distort.
At least it is much more interesting musically. The pressing is noisy as I've encountered frequently on U. I do not know if it's the PVC pellets used to make the vinyl that could be responsible. Changing sides on the platter, " Heart Space " features guest singer Anneka; very sought after in the electronica and dubstep milieu.
Album) first impression Album) that Beth Gibbons from Portishead was in front of the mike such are the resemblance in tonality and phrasing style. Superb deep low bass and nasty low grunt. Still compressed, ends with a s sounding chime synth solo.
Highs are a bit dirty. Good articulation in rhythm pattern and fine tonal balance. The rhythm is repetitive with an occasional 'double kick' or beat shuffling in the extreme lows which is quite effective. Too bad the highs are dirty and distorted.
There is compression leading to some listener fatigue. Continuing with side C, I noticed a bit of smudge dirt pressed in the outer grooves. I could have cleaned it on my Nitty Gritty but I always do a first evaluation 'as is' which reflects the true quality control of the label and pressing plant. And again this is a noisy pressing that tends to worsen during loud climaxes. At first the beat is a bit thin sounding—surely wanted for contrast—but later the bass pounding comes in strong.
Very deep grunt in the lows accompanied by agressive treble and higher compression in some instances for dramatic effect. Although the general sound is cleaner than the previous track, there is nonetheless 'dirty' sounding sibilance in the highs and vocals. Clearly some form of de-essing on the vocals would have helped.
On side D, the pressing is a bit noisy with several little ticks and static-type sounds and seems cut a bit lower in level. Additional synths sounds are crunchy and 'creatively distorted'. Midway the big beat ceases, yielding to a filtered fainter one. Freudiana Featuring Marti Webb - Dont Let The Moment Pass voice layer comes in to bring an eerie ambience. Very original track leaving this listener with an incredible feeling plus superb sound, makes this one, a winner all the way.
Lastly " Nails ", nails it indeed with another incredible track. Starting with some strange looped voices, a 'stuttering' rhythm enters the picture.
There is nice detail on the hi-hat. Superb ambience and tension throughout. Briefly only the highs remain Summertime - Stan Getz - A Life In Jazz: A Musical Biography by a 'Murcof-type' lull.
Abruptly a menacing, industrialised, heavily compressed and distorted beat dominates, before a second clean synth break comes to the rescue. Again, superb sound. These last two tracks are so good, they are reason enough to get this album.
Summing up, what started out on a rather disappointing note along the way, transformed itself into an impressive lasting impression, at least music-wise. In audiophile terms; on the one hand, many of the tracks go quite low to elicit thorax like sensations if ones system permits which can be impressive alone or 'showing off' with company.
On the Album) hand, the highs Album) at times agressive and dirty plus some 'cracking' pressing issues can Bar Kimura (Jamie Vexd Remix) - Vexd - Cloud Seed (Vinyl ones pleasure.
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