11th July 2013

Space Loops - Tape Cassette (No Corners Label)

Dense, paranoid hazes of late nights and patch leads, Akai samplers left running through grubby delay units…breaks stretched to their serrated limit, exposing the pitted drum hits that the UK underground is built on, from Jungle to Grime and beyond.

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Grab one here: http://rwdfwd.com/products/filter-dread-space-loops/


Resident Advisor

The London-based Filter Dread is one of the more prolific of grime's new generation. In addition to an EP for Visionist's Lost Codes label, a single for Epoch's Egyptian Avenue and a mini-album for Threnody's UK Trends, since last year he's put out a string of releases through his own Bandcamp. At 40 minutes in length, Space Loops is his most substantial release to date—and his most original. It appears through No Corner, the cassette label responsible for Kahn & Neek's archival grime project, Gorgon Grime. Space Loops has a similarly archeological approach, expanding on the template laid out in Filter Dread's earliest releases, Edge Alt and Tribe 2. 

This is UK soundsystem music dismembered, its remains fed through battered equipment and reanimated as zombified grime. The concept is appealing—a raw counterpoint to Lee Gamble's Diversions 1994-1996, perhaps—but Filter Dread isn't weighed down by it. Instead he freewheels through styles, taking in sluggish but euphoric hardcore approximations, halftime steppers reminiscent of early DMZ, "Mentasm"-riddled grime bangers and even a stumbling sort of techno. 

There are shades of fellow new-schoolers Wen (in the use of leaden half-time beats and the dread atmospheres of vintage dubstep) and Etch (in the generous helping of hardcore signifiers). But Space Loops pushes further into abstraction, often veering away from the dance floor towards knotty sample collage. In keeping with the spirit of the cassette format, there are jarring crossfades and brief, surreal segues. Some tracks roll balefully along for a good few minutes, others last only a few seconds. The cumulative effect is enormously appealing.

Fact Mag

Following a mini-album on UK Trends and an EP on Visionist’s Lost Codes label, Filter Dread’s latest release comes on No Corner, the Bristol cassette label with a roster of Young Echo artists such as Kahn & Neek, Jabu and El Kid. More a beat tape than album proper, Space Loops is an unpolished collection of heat-warped grime instrumentals, subbass-swollen jungle jams, and fuddled interludes and snippets. It sounds like the product of sleepless nights that bleed into sunless days spent cloistered in a hot room hazy with weed smoke.

Over forty minutes, Filter Dread takes in a range of UK dance ephemera, from fogged piano chords to dusty drum breaks and dancehall vocal snippets, all weighted by powerful, dubwise low end. There’s a refreshing lack of narrative or linear progression as Dread skips through moods and tempos erratically, trying on beats and loops for size and casting them off as soon as he grows bored. He’ll land on a sound or loop and riff on it for a while, so that an innocent avian whistle swells into a bizarre cacophony of granular synths, glassy bells, bongos and birdsong. It builds momentum, whirls concentrically, and fades away as quickly as it began.

This kind of cassette album is directly descended from DIY jungle and rave tape packs, but sometimes it’s as if Dread is dodgily taping a pirate radio show, skipping stations until he comes across something he likes. Space Loops is so filled with lurching transitions that prang you out slightly that after a while transience is the only thing that’s certain. Misleadingly, plenty of the sketches seem to fall just short of proper songs, from the mucky hardcore jam that opens the first side to a classic eski track that’s all moody string passage and tremolo bassline. Yet both pieces disintegrate within less than a couple of minutes: the icy strings segue hurriedly into a timestretched ragga vocal sample and rolling drum break, which in turn fade infinitesimally into a track that’s little more than gritty drums and dread bassline.

There’s a fair amount of excellent instrumental grime being released these days, but outside radio there’s little that sounds spontaneous and raw. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with clean production, but there’s something refreshing about this tape’s roughness, its lines only roughly delineated and loosely half-filled. Filter Dread’s mélange of UK underground music may be a patchwork of mismatched vignettes instead of a unified whole, but that entropic, jumbled quality is exactly what makes Space Loops so compelling.

Review from RWDFWD.com

Dense, paranoid hazes of late nights and patch leads, Akai samplers left running through grubby delay units…breaks stretched to their serrated limit, exposing the pitted drum hits that the UK underground is built on, from Jungle to Grime and beyond.

Enter the mind of Filter Dread -–sonic archaeologist – deconstructing 20 years of source material and recomposing it through a twisted maze of appropriately archaic technology.

Space Loops is his most substantial body of work to date, a 40-minute trip of entirely original material, 22 tracks in total, seamlessly blended and transferred to cassette, returning to the tape packs that influenced his music in the first place.

A warped document of tense, Jungle-rooted experimentation from one of the most liberated minds operating within the UK underground.

‘A lot of the time it’s not the execution of the track, it’s the build up and design of the concept beforehand…’