Thursday, July 7, 2016
“Chant and Call” (Bokeh Versions)
In the summer of 1858, the Great Stink permeated the city of London, a nightmare whose ingredients consisted of an antiquated sewage system and a population just large enough to overwhelm it. Can you imagine how bad London smelled? Fortunately, the event kicked off a massive public works project to refit the city’s wastewater conduits, thereby allowing the city’s residents to breathe again, after a while of course. (The plan also cut down on the cholera outbreaks caused by the backed-up sewage.)
Maybe that’s a bit too much for an opener here, and you may be wondering what the eff I’m talking about. (That or you’re trying in vain to keep your breakfast down.) But put two and two together for a second here: first, Bokeh Versions is based in South London, which really had to have been hit pretty hard by the Great Stink, even though we’re a century and a half down the road from it. So the label got a pretty good deal, if you ask me. Right place, right time. Second, Voodoo Tapes, the recording moniker of Giovanni Roma of Naples, Italy, makes music that can pretty much only be described as “dank,” moving at a pace of “sludge” and eliciting wary glances in dark alleys in the middle of the night. In short, it’s perfect electronic music for European cities, well ventilated or otherwise.
Roma works in the Venn diagram center of dub and electronic music, crafting moody dancefloor pieces for disillusioned hipsters who are tired of all your Skrillexes and, I dunno, SKisMs. This isn’t to say that Voodoo Tapes sounds anything like or owes anything to Skrillex or SKisM, I just mean that those guys can fuck off and cede the PA system to Voodoo Tapes. Because despite all the grossout nausea inducements above, it’s the gut where you feel Voodoo Tapes the most, although it’s more gut-level earth movement than movement of any other kind. God, I’m feeling so dirty right now typing this, but I can’t stop! Anyway, dub meets illbient in an occult bookstore and starts a reading group, is what I’m trying to say, really. Because books make you smart, and Voodoo Tapes is smarter than Skrillex in, like, every way.
But don’t take my word for it, because my word sounds like a History Channel metaphor for music gone wrong. Take Jay Glass Dubs’ word for it, because he’s awesome, and he remixed “The Summoning.” And Jambassa’s remix of “Dawn” is pretty special too. And the five Voodoo Tapes originals that make up the rest of the tape are pure creep bombs lobbed from a laptop at the bottom of the Thames. Let’s just hope the dreaded London Fog keeps itself at bay for another 150 years.