Vekta Records have been threatening to become a major player in the netlabel scene since they started two years ago. One of their artists ‘Xanja’ was featured on the Netlabelism podcast at the end of last year (CAST04). The new-look on their website appears neat and tidy in a darkened OCD-type way (always a good start for a dark bass label), and the front page has quite a nice record-flicking utility which gives the whole site a good sense of continuity. A huge plus is Soundcloud widgets for whole releases found for every release, and many releases found on one page (every label must make previews for releases easier in this frantically lazy internet-orientated age!). However this is only beneficial if every release is of high quality.
Accel shares the same name with the now-outdated Pro Tools TDM card which I have to work closely with in my job (I hope this doesn’t skew the review too much). His release at Vekta is pumped with a polished low-end, riddled with dark snappy drum hits, awash with an intimate reverb, and stuffed with a very dark essence which has been hugely favoured by deep-dubstep fans since Burial. The production skills on this EP are extremely good, and the artist’s hard work is clearly demonstrated by his careful EQing and delicate depth of sound field. A detailed bass-heavy headphone listen is highly recommended if you have an abundance of sub-bass in your monitoring.
However, this raises a point which niggles me every so often. Developments in technology are moving much faster than developments in music theory. Anyone can get into software DAWs and knock some tunes out if they wanted to, but traditional music tuition is a much rarer occurrence in comparison. Knowledge of harmony, melody, development and structure can easily be left behind in electronic music, but when featured, it blows my mind (Mount Kimbie and Floating Points are probably the best examples for their contributions to the bass music scene. Also, Dorian Concept, reviewed a few weeks ago; a release with so much musicality, I didn’t know what to do with it all).
Accel’s release contains very little musical content. Take “Walkin’ Bass” for example. A stripped-down ‘Tubular Bells’-esque synth melody opens the tune. Whilst repeating, a typical dubstep beat becomes haphazardly associated with said melody. The track has barely started, and the drums ease off, the melody is filtered, a cheesy ragga vocal sample is heard with an effect applied on the tail, and the drop heralds a bass line with some sort of pulsating mid-range. The content just seems a little careless, almost like the artist has thrown it together, because ‘that’s how you start a dubstep tune’. The lack of creativity left me feeling a little cold, as well as a little bored. Argument against; I am listening to this on a Saturday morning in my bedroom whilst drinking a cup of tea. Perhaps it isn’t the best surrounding for immersing myself in dark dubstep. Argument for: so this is for the dance floor? Unless there was ketamine, I doubt I would be dancing…
Form EP is not alone in this respect. There is a lot of deep dubstep circulating around the internet with barely any melodic content. Is it only so long before a majority of electronic music contains no actual music? Will its rhythmic qualities still bind it to being music? Who knows… One thing is for sure. Vekta records have managed to turn a few heads, and their presence has been felt by the dubstep community. Their music is of good quality, and I have to pinch myself to remember the label is entirely non-profit (like most other labels celebrated on this site). However, if they are going to gain a larger popularity, their future releases must break a few more boundaries, instead of contributing to a steadily-decomposing bog containing mouldy dubstep of yesteryear.
*Note, not all their releases are dubstep, I strongly suggest you check out previous releases!*
Accel – Encounter at Fairpoint
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