Son Raw evolves and changes
Dusk & Blackdown’s music has always been conceptual. Their debut album Margins Music sought to document the London streets implicitly referenced in Dubstep’s darkness just as most of the genre’s original artists were beginning to tour the world beyond them. Meanwhile their sophomore effort Dasaflex’s restless experimentation was the first shot in a 130BPM revival of FWD’s musical values – a revival that’s since gone from strength to strength thanks to releases by Logos, Wen and other members of their Keysound Family.
With that in mind, it’s hard not to look at Back 2 Go FWD as a victory lap of sorts – a knowing smirk acknowledging that the sounds they’re shepherding are once again at the vanguard of the Hardcore Continuum’s latest transformation. Far from overpowering the music however, this new-found swagger suits the duo like a glove, resulting in their most physically engaging production since their work with Trim and Roll Deep.
While the title track comes complete with a looping, lecture-ready vocal sample spelling out the release’s mission statement, it’s entirely in service of a tension-raising rhythm. Both the original and “Sweet 2 Go Sour” mixes are built around taught, swinging percussion that reference dark Garage without operating in that context, while Timeless and Epic Jam shift those same musical elements into a drum track and an ambient breakdown, respectively. While Keysound’s output has occasionally been labeled “dark 130” for lack of a better term, these mixes highlight just how much territory the crew’s covering – dark and colorful, rhythmic and atmospheric.
Peng One Two is even better, exploding out the gate with some of the shiftiest hi-hats since Steve Gurley and a defiantly rude amount of air horns and spinbacks. Meanwhile the vocal is about as far from academic as you can get: Grime godfather Wiley commenting on a girl’s figure. Secretly, every DJ wants a theme song to walk out to and 10 years into their career, Dusk & Blackdown have found theirs.
There’s also a couple of remixes with legends Horsepower Productions delivering a particularly fiery dub of Dasaflex’s Wicked Vibes, but this time Dusk & Blackdown’s originals deserve the spotlight. After spending years building a scene from scratch, they’ve finally found the context and opportunity to deliver dance music whose main objective is simply to make people dance, and their output is all the better for it. They’re still aiming for the head but this time, they’re moving feet first.