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2562 - Aerial

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Artist: 2562

Album: Aerial

Label: Tectonic

Review date: Jun. 2, 2008

The leap from the 12" to the full-length might seem like a large one for dancefloor-oriented producers and DJs, but the results are stunning when they land on their feet. Those warming to recent albums by Benga, Burial and Pinch will also like 2562's Aerial, which incorporates two massive 12"s for Pinch's Bristol-based Tectonic imprint into the long-player format. As was the case with Benga's Diary of an Afro Warrior, there are two versions of the record on the market: the CD version and the double-LP, which vary significantly in track selection and sequence (the LP contains two exclusive tracks omitted from the digital version). Since I only had access to the CD installment (littered with pesky anti-piracy promotional reminders), that's the one that will be the subject here.

Aerial is another landmark for dubstep. Producer Dave Huismans hails from the Hague and operates just outside the genre's British breeding ground, allowing him to mold his own aesthetic from materials previously exhibited in locales from Bristol to Berlin. Though Huismans also records under the name A Made Up Sound, his current 2562 moniker is derived from his home district code - a choice that seems to proudly proclaim his distance from South London's dubstep ground zero. He makes sparse and simple tracks that allow their digital pieces plenty of room to breathe, gradually building tension in the empty space between bass drops. While the tempos vary widely, Huismans works mainly within a solidly techno-dub framework but still manages to be forward-thinking. The low-end sounds are Huismans' biggest strength; they nod to the Jamaican soundsystem influence that is so prevalent in the genre. Much of their chest-caving effect will be lost if you don't have a decent woofer handy, so don't be disappointed if your speakers can't keep up with Aerial's density.

"Redux" begins the record leisurely, gently coaxing the listener in with a lazy dub shuffle. The breezy beginning threw me off at first, but Huismans flexes his muscles on "Morven" with one of the catchiest bass lines I've heard in months. He proceeds to slay for the rest of the album, with beats that are effortless and inviting - never too aggressive, but ever-engaging. The production values on Aerial are unmatched in their clarity, descending into the dungeon of Skull Disco while also incorporating the meticulous minimalism of Basic Channel.

All the tracks have their own appeal, but the standouts are obvious. The disorienting "Techno Dread" (from an earlier Tectonic single) rides a roller coaster of bass frequencies. The track's accompanying B-side, "Enforcer," is equally massive--it's no wonder that the single was one of the hottest items in Tectonic's catalog. The momentum of the album doesn't wane until the closing track, "The Times," which slowly sinks into a sweaty pool of exasperation.

In light of its heavy reliance on minimalism and wordless compositions, Aerial doesn't quite possess the crossover potential of Burial's Untrue or Pinch's Underwater Dancehall. But that doesn't mean this isn't one of the heaviest dubstep-leaning full-lengths to date. This is another stellar transition to album format that works both at home and on the dancefloor. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go buy a copy without the robot promo voice. It may be annoying as shit, but I guess the trick worked, huh?

By Cole Goins

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