“Issuing the very last word on the state of dubstep’s constant mutations in 2008, Londoner Spatial drops an exceptional 10” of clipped post-Burial/future-garage productions for the newly coined Infrasonics imprint – and right at the very end of 2008 has produced what will no doubt be a true collectors item a few months down the line. Housed in a minimalist sleeve and bearing little other info than a five letter code and the label’s URL, the aesthetic is deliberately stripped and scoured clean, much like the beats inside. ‘80207’ is an absolutely killer slice of crisp and spacious garage dub progressions, sounding like the perfect union of Andy Stott’s techno dub fixation crossbred with Burial’s swung patterns and 2562’s chrome plated production gloss, but adds old skool rave strafes and some cybotronic mechanics of his own for a truly shocking cut. The flipside numbered ‘70810’ rewrites the formula even further, starting with a El-B fashioned rhythmic framework, Spatial reinforces the rhythm with slashing brushstrokes to remove any unneccessary beats, and douses the whole thing with a ghostly atmosphere reminiscent of Burial or Andy Stott’s finest. It’s either the end of a vintage year for garage futurisms or the start of a very promising 2009, either way, this is just awesome. Be quick."
“This year’s clearest trend in dubstep is “future garage”, a technologically-enhanced re-imagining of the sound’s 2-step origins by Martyn, 2562, Ramadanman & co. On his debut productions, Londoner s p a t i a l could have risked simply reworking this new formula: the microhouse clicks, Basic Channel washes and clean subs are certainly present and correct. However his understanding of original UK garage’s clipped shuffle, snappy woodblock hits and compressed emotion goes way beyond pastiche, and the incorporation of older rave elements like "80723"’s Detroit strings and riffs and "80207"’s contrast between cushioning alto vocal samples and sharp stabs creates a distinctive sound world. Most of all, though, it’s the expert manipulation of space to give a sense of buoyancy, of loosened gravity, that make stepping inside these four tracks so inviting."
“Utterly anonymous release from the equally ambiguous Infrasonics crew. Both cuts fit in between the atmospheric, 2-step of Burial and the mechanised garage of dubstep’s godfather, El-B. No information, so no lead to go on, but what we can say is that you need to snap one of these up quick – we’re informed that they’re a one-time-only limted edtion pressing. Killer.”
Throughout the past 12 months, some dubstep producers delved deeply into their sound banks to explore the space between musical elements, creating a new evolution in the sound. Others relied on the sheer viciousness of their bass lines to move people. The completely and utterly anonymous Spatial thankfully falls into the former category and this numerically titled 10-inch, and the two accompanying free downloads, thrusts the recent 2-step infected movement of producers like Geiom and Ramadanman into a more considered and glitchy direction.
The two vinyl tracks comprise of subtle clicks and hi-hats that push into you rather than hinting at the rolling pulse of the sub bass, revealing an almost tech house-influenced production style. “70810” has a primitive garage double snare groove and, as on most of the cuts on offer, Spatial lets the drum beat take the brunt of the attention with a few tempered pads chiming sultrily in the background. “80207,” meanwhile, has a more obvious dubstep feel with its heavily delayed snare drum and more consistent sub bass lurking behind the wheeling stabs of that rave era synthesizer.
With an evident grasp on 2-step drum patterns and with a foot planted heavily in dubstep, Spatial seems to have found a style all of his own. This first micro garage lament for Infrasonics is minimal but, as should be standard in such a skeletal foray, it’s impeccably well produced. Whether he’s messing up progressive synths on “70707” or making you reach for the ceiling on “80723,” it appears Spatial deserves every bit of your attention.
…to all those who helped get this record out. You know who you are :)