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L.B. Dub Corp/ASC – Parallel Series 1 review

The concept behind Mote Evolver’s new Parallel Series – placing two contrasting but complementing artists either side of a 12″ – is not necessarily groundbreaking in itself, and it can be argued that other recent ventures, such as Bristol’s Schmorgasbord imprint and Sound Pellegrino’s Crossover series (both of which encourage producers from different backgrounds to actually get in the studio together) are more daring. But when you’ve got someone like Luke Slater taking curatorial duties, you know the results are going to be fascinating – especially when his seldom-seen L.B. Dub Corp alias comes out to play.

To launch the series, Slater has called on US-based Englishman ASC (aka James Clements), whose previous releases have lurked around the intangible periphery of dubstep, D&B and ambient. Here, however, he turns in two whopping, wholly visceral techno cuts. It’s a natural progression, considering the success currently being enjoyed by his contemporaries Instra:mental, who have been releasing a steady stream of electro and techno. The relentless guttural throb of “Slow Burn” – a track only true in title for someone used to operating around the 140bpm mark – is offset by slapping synths and barely-there vocal snippets, like a studio jam between Levon Vincent and Boddika. This is complemented by the more liquid tones of “Transit”, a reverb-laden throbber with menacing sonar bleeps piercing the swampy atmospherics.

On the flip, Slater adopts his L.B. Dub Corp guise, last seen on an excellent 12″ last year for Ostgut Ton (the wonderfully rattling 12-minute epic “Take It Down In” being the highlight). Of the two tracks here, the cavernous sub-bass and twinkling keys of “Lurcher’s Dub” is the highlight, a hunched, dimly-lit tour of the creaking, groaning passageways buried deep beneath the earth. “Native Dub” is more sparse in nature, a loopy Chicago house cut dressed up with distorted metallic slaps and warbling synths. Although much of the press attention on Slater is currently centred around his upcoming album under the Planetary Assault Systems moniker, this series has intriguing long-term potential.

Aaron Coultate