- I'm not sure if there's still angst over the dubstep-techno crossover but Berlin-based, London ex-pat Paul Rose AKA Scuba's remix single series for A Mutual Antipathy pretty much sets the whole thing in concrete. The first in a run of three 12-inches, this single brokers deals with British techno producer Surgeon and Chain Reaction vet Substance. Future entries in the series feature Jamie Vex'd, Marcel Dettmann and Martyn, plus a re-up by Rose himself under the SCB alias but, while they're all fantastic, my vote goes to this Surgeon/Substance double-header.
The Substance mix of "Poppies" takes a couple of listens to warm up, actually: it shares with his previous productions the distinctive spatial architecture of the Chain Reaction crew, but the beat's so sluggish it feels at first as though it's in the rigor mortis phase. As Substance slowly levers more details into the mix, things fill up, and the industrial clank and escaping gas that girds the track ends up rubbing alongside a simple, sturdy bass line and a slowly morphing, borderline radioactive textural warp. Like the best Chain Reaction productions, it deals in indefinable emotional shades, though it trades in CR's palette of grayish hues for metallic blues and iron oxides.
Surgeon's mix bumps up the BPM counter and somehow manages to make the splicing of dubstep and techno DNA seem absolutely effortless—and logical. One of the thrills in Surgeon's rework is his ability to spread things out, and there are great patches of open landscape through "Ruptured," where everything's accelerating, yet oddly calm. It's the kind of ever-changing same you get from watching cityscapes pass by on a high-speed train journey. Surgeon always brings a peculiar weight to his productions—the bass drum is borderline stentorian to start with, puncturing holes in the mix's timecard, but when the 4/4 pulse kicks in, coupled with a handclap that sends crackling energy through the track, it proves inescapable.
A Ruptured (Surgeon Remix)
B Poppies (Substance Dub Version)