Both Om Unit and Seekersinternational have earned a buy-on-sight reputation over the past few years. Fans of bass-heaviness, rhythmic complexity and dubbed out dread will be wetting themselves at the sight of their names bunched together. They have assembled on the Berceuse Heroique label, which has come to be a leading laboratory in the field of dubwise chemical warfare in its own right with releases from Ossia, Mosca and Jay Glass Dubs.
Secret Location offers everything you might expect and desire: the crystalline beatmaking of Om Unit, the sultry, sampled slutchiness of Seekers, but also a pleasantly surprising rootsy sound somewhere in between. On ‘Check One’, stunning live drum kits are embraced by smoky, echoic atmospheres that recall vintage ’60s dub productions. The “meets” that joins these artists together in the album title references those legendary Jamaican studio sessions where a tight live band (think Aggrovators, Revolutionaries, Roots Radics) would join forces with the extra-terrestrial powers of the producer and a space-age mixing desk (think Tubby, Perry, Scientist).
What they achieve most brilliantly, though, is a marriage of hauntingly weightless hardcore tropes and dub dynamics, not least on our premiered track, ‘Krnch’. At every turn the bumping basslines, eerie synths and fiery dancefloor samples feel as though they will be rained on by a firestorm of breaks – but they never come. Instead, the tracks are kept in a chokehold of pure pressure. The Secret Location of its title may be this unfulfilled climax; or the vocal sample you will never track down; or the ’90s rave scene millennials will never truly know. In place of this secret knowledge, we are gifted an impressionistic soundscape not meant to be understood, but felt to the core.
Secret Location is out November 5th on Berceuse Heroique.