Arie – Cold Up Norf (Planet Terror Records)
One of the many tricks to decent Dub is, in my eternally humble opinion, the ability to craft out an abyss of bass which bubbles along just deeply enough to offer up the duvet of sounds which marks the genre out but not quite so wandering and lost as to require a hefty amount of THC in your system before you can grasp on to it. A rule forgotten on occasion – especially by the modern breed of bedroom based producers who can easily imagine an appeal which is invisible to everyone else whilst lost in the structures of what they’re doing.
Arie, of Sheffield based Planet Terror Records, however, doesn’t fall for the trap of self-indulgent bass intricacy with his release Cold Up Norf. It’s a six-track EP but each track has sufficient meat to it to make it a worthwhile and well formed effort, mixing in Garage and Dance elements with some healthily abyss like Dub beats which offer up an almost perfect level of immersion if you’re in the mood for it. And I say ‘almost perfect’ not because there’s anything in particular missing from Cold Up Norf, at least nothing easily described, but compare this release to something in the same sphere, like Dig & Delve from Arie’s Planet Terror label mate Titus Twelve, and there is an undefinable something missing. I suspect that it’s the final touches of uniqueness which Arie has missed out on, although there are some nice hooks in there it’s not quite enough to carve out a recognisable niche. The quality is there but the sound is still emerging. For criticisms beyond that there’s only really the occasional poorly placed interjection of Danciness into the proceedings – which might just be an illusion from my own dislike for the more hackneyed Dance devices which have a tendancy to poking up rather than a complaint which anyone else would share.
To balance that out though and prove that I do actually quite like this album, whatever my complaints might suggest, the beats on Cold Up Norf are undoubtedly good, minimally constructed as they are there’s no sense of sparseness about them, indeed there’s a rich sound here which offers up a beautifully easy and indulgent listen.
I’d make a definite recommendation of Cold Up Norf if you like your Dub heavy and dark (and, let’s face it, who doesn’t) but it’s a staple addition to the collection, not a remarkable one.