CHOICE CUT- Scuba ‘Personality’


Scuba / Personality 

CD / Digital / Vinyl 

Hotflush Recordings / Released February 2012

After one listen to this third long-form outing from the Hotflush bossman one thing is abundantly clear; there simply aren’t enough breakbeats getting made anymore. Don’t worry though, we’re not talking garish over production and ADHD basslines.

Those familiar with the work of Paul Rose- either as Scuba or SCB- will know by now that he’s happy enough to steer clear of conformity, and deliver the unexpected. Straddling dubstep, house, and techno in a convincing, honest way is no mean feat, but the man seems capable of achieving such difficult to define sounds with ease and innovation, creating tunes to satisfy all tastebuds therein, and Personality is no exception.

Dsy Chn nods to the broken hypnosis of Tyrant, all deep, immersive atmospherics, trance-inducing vocal hooks and boxfresh drum arrangements,  whilst Underbelly also belongs in the most bewitching of underground house music collections. Pots and pans percussion is layered over a loose four four, complete with looped organs, moving between downbeat breakdowns and guttural rolling sections dominated by basslines and distant acid accents, resulting in a track of well timed contrasts.

Further into the album and we’re treated to further nostalgia-tipped fare, though this isn’t to say it sounds dated, or tired. Action‘s progressive edges- largely comprising murky harmonies and T-bone electro-breaks- sound a bit like the Sasha circa 2001 crossing paths with DMX Krew, and provide yet another example of the overall dance history Rose has clearly been informed by. This notion is never more pronounced than in NE1BUTU, which is something of an homage to early rave and hardcore, complete with pitched vocal samples and one hell of a piano breakdown… hands in the air to say the least.

We could go on, with all eleven of the offerings that make up this celebration of club noises worthy of reference- from Gekko‘s groovy distorted low end and tribal house details to Cognitive Dissonance‘s slow build into futurist, emotive drum n bass. Really though the point has been laboured, albeit potentially without clarifying the fine print. In summary then; Scuba’s third is not so much stolen from the history books as it is the perfect solution for when somebody asks you for a modern album that could logically explain what on Earth has happened to electronic beats in the last 20 years. Perhaps most refreshingly of all though, not to mention least over-conceptual, it’s an LP boasting an apt title, with Personality here in spades.