- It's always an event when Mala decides to pluck another couple of tracks from his vast pool of unreleased dubs and commit them to wax. This time around, though, it feels particularly significant—and not only because recent DMZ releases have leaned overwhelmingly towards Coki. The release of Mala in Cuba earlier this year felt like the beginning of a new era for the dubstep pioneer, marking, if not a radical shift in style, then at least a ramping up of ambition. Stand Against War could be read as an olive branch to diehard fans; a reassurance that Mala's values remain unchanged.
Of course there are no real surprises here: both of these tracks have been floating around for some years and, even if they hadn't been, where Mala is concerned quality is guaranteed. "Maintain Thru Madness" is more of a traditional half-stepper, all whipcrack snares, plodding sub and twitchy, angular hi-hats. The desolate pads, occasionally smeared with little molten trails of delay, evoke the twilit urban landscapes that have been grist to the dubstep mill from day dot. This is far from a dated cliché though: Mala's exhaustive attention to detail keeps things fresh. "Stand Against War," meanwhile, is more striking, a dense percussive workout built around a galloping sub line. The drop, when it comes (courtesy of Peter Snow), plays on dubstep's half-time/double-time dichotomy expertly, kick and snare thwacking out a measured half-time beat over a compact mosaic of sub and bongo syncopations.
A Stand Against War
AA Maintain Thru Madness