Album Review: Dadub – You Are Eternity

[Stroboscopic Artefacts; 2013]

German techno imprint, Stroboscopic Artifacts, has been quietly releasing some of the most abstract and forward-thinking long players the genre has seen in recent years. Namely, Lucy’s Wordplay For Working Bees and Xhin’s Sword, both of which offer up darkened labyrinthine IDM-infused landscapes that do as much to confound structurally as they do to pulverize sonically. Italian duo, Dadub, have played a prominent role in shaping the label’s aesthetic (which includes the blackly fractured cover art that has adorned all of their LPs and samplers), working as resident mastering wizards for the label as well as releasing a string of singles leading up to You Are Eternity, their debut full-length for the imprint.

You Are Eternity continues to mine from the darkened experimental strain Stroboscopic has carved out for itself with the aforementioned releases, but it’s easily the most approachable of the bunch. Dadub work in an almost unrecognizably abstracted form of dub, loosing skeleton-rattling IDM rhythms upon a landscape of slowly shifting tectonic-plate textures, creating a vast yet claustrophobic subterranean atmosphere. The album strikes with a kind of geological tribalism, the massive rhythms willing their surroundings into shape. But despite its density and scale, the duo are able to build into precise, vivid peaks throughout these tracks, letting the intensity coalesce and disperse with a fuzzy dream-like tactility.

Dadub is more interested in the broader facets of human existence and culture, with song titles like “Life,” “Death,” and, yup, “Existence.” On “Truth” the duo supply some vocal snippets which reference Alan Greenspan, crumbling markets, and the discord between economic institutions and human error while the drums impact the ground in seismic fits. But it’s the only moment on the record that seems to have a more specific topic in mind. The album is more interested in a sense of togetherness and inclusion. Despite its atmospheric acuity, You Are Eternity screams to be played near swarms of writhing bodies. It’s most definitely a club record, though its pure danceability is up for question. It’s physicality just has no other appropriate response than to move.

There’s still a great deal of pure ambient sculpting going on throughout You Are Eternity. The opener, “Vibration,” sounds like a digitized hymn left off of Ambient 4, “Unbroken Continuity,” with its cavernous field recordings, subtle analog synth notes, and rocky-outcroppings-shrouded-in-fog atmospherics wouldn’t have be out of place on Lustmord and Robert Rich’s Stalker, while closer, “Iridescent Fragment,” is the first sign of light on the whole record with its heavenly, upward synth melodies and subtly cascading bass notes.

It’s hard not to find yourself surrounded on all sides when listening to You Are Eternity. It’s sense of size and motion is impeccable and it creates a womb-like listen that’s hard to re-acclimate from after it’s over. Dadub have crafted an LP with depth and subtle yet grand-scale dimension, adding another excellent release to the Stroboscopic Artefacts canon.