When I first saw that the next ZamZam Sounds release would be courtesy of Mikael I got very excited. For those who aren’t familiar with Mikael, the Finnish producer has been making some of the finest dubwise beats over the last few years, comprising his individual style of dub vibes and thunderous basslines. So when I was given a chance to review his newest release, I had to take it.
The 57th release on ZamZam Sounds maintains the labels commitment to unique dub music. The A-side, “Nuthin’ A Come” has a smooth and uplifting vibe. The track begins with an uplifting rhythm of offbeat guitar chops, tied together by a steady beat with lashings of spring reverb (of which you can never have too much!). The track drops with the introduction of a warming bassline which grooves amongst the offbeat chops and compelling drums. Sparse stabs help to bring in a melodic brass lead which drifts in and out of the tune, carried by swinging delays. At the breakdown, the beat intensifies before the bassline reappears. The beat continues with a more significant pattern which helps build a crescendo effect for the end of the track. Listening to the track has an intoxicating effect as its components fade in and out and convulse around you. It certainly leaves you eager to flip the record over for the B-side.
The B-side “Corner Dub” is a stark contrast to the uplifting “Nuthin’ A Come”. Once again starting with offbeat chops, this time accompanied by rattling percussion, the track quickly descends into a darker, dubbed-out soundscape. The bassline has a brilliant fluidity to it, whilst the accompanying percussion has healthy amounts of reverb and delay which creates a sparse feeling to the track. Chilling one-shots of piano darken the tone of the song, whilst a Melodica lead brings it back towards the light in a sonic to-and-fro. The inclusion of vocals, in the form of some patois chants is welcome, and is perhaps what is missing from the A-side. After the breakdown, analogue wobbles boost the track up before it continues on with increased feedback and delays towards the end of the tune.
The two tracks on this record show contrasting styles of dub music. The A-side is uplifting and intoxicating, whilst the B-side is darker and more complex. Both tracks have an undeniable presence, and there is a certain curiosity about them; each time you re-listen you appreciate a different part. It is testament to the production prowess of Mikael that he can create two tracks at opposite ends of the dub spectrum. Both are tied together by his signature bass sound which has undeniable and tangible weight to it. This record continues the series of outstanding releases on ZamZam Sounds and is a fitting recognition of Mikael’s talent. I look forward to hearing more from Mikael in the future.