» Everybody's Talking, Nobody's Listening
Reviewed by DMX
/ Submitted 19-05-09 15:59
Label: Subsoldier Records
Caspa is one of the biggest names in commercial dubstep now, thanks largely to his seminal FabricLIVE 37 mix, which he co-authored with his label mate Rusko. Despite having a number of his own tracks released to great acclaim, it's only in 2009 that the long-anticipated début album has arrived. First glances reveal a particularly old classic in the form of "Terminator" included on the CD. Very good dubstep tune, although even casual listeners of the genre may have tired of the track by now. Sadly, this is the stand-out track on the album for me, which somewhat numbs positive feelings towards the music and Caspa's progression as a producer. It would be fantastic to have a number of tracks which at least supplemented Terminator, but the majority of the album is very simplistic, unchallenging music.
The style of dubstep employed by Caspa is one which is based on fun, with a nod to the dancefloor. Unfortunately the album sounds like an attempt to polish that sound, but it ends-up losing some of the edge of his previous productions, sets and mixes.
Low Blow is a wobbly, chugging affair with slightly upbeat percussion. Far too simplistic for my liking, and lacking any real imagination. However, it sits right at the start of the album, so that's perhaps to be expected. On we move to The Takeover. After the elongated, enjoyable intro we're left with little time left in the track, and a lot of that is taken by poorly-chosen bars of music. Not sure if this was produced in a hurry as there's clearly a good track to be had with a bit of clever editing.
Marmite is the fourth track on the album (note: the first is just an intro, so avoids review). I'm actually one of those apparently rare breeds who thinks Marmite is just "ok", and neither awful nor bad. Marmite the spread, that is. Fortunately I am able to provide a solid opinion of this track. It's quite a repetitive, simple tune, as per most on the album. Very little variation on the underlying structure of elements.
Riot Powder is quite a murky track. It plods along well enough, but lacks any real drive. I can almost picture the producer nodding with his head in his hands and yawning, whilst mastering it. Very sleepy tune.
Lon-don City features the talents of Uncle Sam, whose Around the Way Girls track Caspa used (in collaboration with Tes La Rok) to great effect on his FabricLIVE mix. I was intrigued to hear the collaboration, and it's a pretty good effort. Slightly verges on sounding too much like an rnb track for me to think of playing it, but it's a nice change from the rest of the tracks on the album. If only the vocoder effect was turned off we'd have a genuinely top track. Great music for the summer, and possibly a candidate for chart success.
The Terminator is a classic track from Caspa. Nicely paced and bass-punctuated, with plenty of variation and good use of samples. Excellent track, although as mentioned, it's quite old and for many will be something they've tired of. Indeed, it's perhaps having heard this example of Casap doing things right which makes it harder to enjoy the other material of the same ilk. It just feels like there's been little improvement there and I hoped for more.
Rat-A-Tat-Tat is quite an energetic track, thanks largely to the album's second appearance on the MC Dynamite. I'm not a fan of the vocal samples used, by Dynamite does a good job to ride the waves of bass. One of the better tunes, and something which would go down a storm on most dubstep dancefloors.
Victoria's secret is a very smooth affair. Great use of what appears to be a saxophone. Another chilled offering on the album, which is especially appreciated as it's quite a growling, bass-heavy affair otherwise.
I Beat My Robot is the antepenultimate track on the album. Nothing particularly new or challenging about this track, but it certainly has potential to keep things ticking over nicely on the dancefloor. More wobble spread across a mid-tempo track. Again, rather simplistic, but I like the sample and if used correctly it could be a great transitional track.
Disco Jaws is perhaps my least favourite track on the album. I've never been a fan of the mockney/geezer type of feel to tracks of any genre, and it takes something special to make me able to stomach such things. Sadly this track is almost entirely based around one rather awful set of lazy, horribly-delivered mockney vocals. I'm surprised he included this track as the vocals just make me cringe. A DJ using an MC to indirectly state how much he hates people being all over him and wanting to sleep with him? That's again something which a great hip-hop MC could do with swagger, rather than sounding like an aggressive ape who only just learned how to rhyme words together.
The final track, Back to '93, is a great way to finish. We hear the beat pattern revert to breaks, and the the drum syncopation nicely keeps an uptempo feel to the track, whilst not having the confines of monotonous bass. Perhaps the most promising track from Caspa on the album, as we get to hear something different from the usual. I can't help but feel this track should be the first or second track on the album; setting the tone for what's to follow.
Overall there are some really good tracks, but the majority of the album sounds like somebody going through the motions without much inspiration. However, a début album is always going to be harder than a follow-up, as the producer isn't yet an expert at arranging albums and deciding what an album should be, conceptually and musically. Fingers crossed he learns from this and gets inspired to start penning the sort of stuff we know he's capable of.
The views and opinions expressed in this review are strictly those of the author only for which HarderFaster will not be held responsible or liable.
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