Om Unit/ TM404 - In the Afterworld
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Om Unit and TM404 have both been researching production and compositional elements in the crosshairs of dub and acid for the last few years – Om Unit most notably with his Acid Dub Studies 1 & 2, and TM404 with his Acidub album in particular.
Om Unit has been a longtime fan of TM404’s use of the TB-303 and the deconstructed space he brings to the house and techno template. Meanwhile Om Unit’s own leaning towards breaks and reggae instrumentation has offered a different approach to the acid sound they both love so much. So an LP with Acid Test seemed the perfect opportunity to combine those approaches and see what kind of mutations could be discovered. The result is a primordial soup that is in parts acid, dub, breaks and ambient, full of spaced-out synths and psychedelic bass, where the pair enjoyed building tracks with a feel for where the music wanted to go, irrespective of stylistic constraints.
Rolling opener Motorway Acid sets the pace high and strong, conjuring both wide open spaces and fast-paced travel at the same time, with weightless pads, stroboscopic breaks and a mighty 303 riff that can teleport you to the middle of a foggy dancefloor. Microdose Mondays on the other hand, slows the tempo down and veers into cosmic territory, with perfectly dubbed drum rolls and burbling squelch. But it’s London Stock that kicks the album into hyperspace, finding its futuristic steppers groove somewhere in the answer to the hypothetical question ‘what if Shaka had produced Stingray?’
Speaking of underwater electronics, Meanwhile In The Smoking Area delves deep into submarine territory, delivering the kind of bass weight and sonar acid signals you’d need a diver’s suit for. It’s a vibe that’s continued on the tracks Thursday and Refracted, and speaks to the record’s title – otherworldly, dreamy bass meditations that aren’t of this realm. The album closes out with Praha, a pacey yet ambient vista of warm wide synths, layers of 303, and dub echoes that sound like the machines are slowly coming to life.
It’s in this altered state that the album resides, somewhere between worlds and styles, emerging out of the space around the TB-303 that Om Unit and TM404 have created, with their open-minded approach to the music and to this collaboration. Free the 303
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