Various Productions: The World Is Gone
Admittedly this one's been a secret weapon in my DJ bag since I found it in the "Dubstep" bin at London's Rough Trade back in August, but seeing as how it's gotten little press stateside and it's due for a CD release in the U.S. 24 October 2006, perhaps it's time I shared...
Various are truly enigmatic. Without any credits or liner notes on their website or their debut album The World is Gone the mysterious duo known as Adam and Ian have arrived at a sound both distinctly british and universal, urban yet timeless, full of dread and danger and sex appeal.
Although often compared to Massive Attack or Portishead in the UK press, Various don't make downtempo background muzak. They earn the comparison for the sense of compressed despair in their songs, perhaps reminiscent of the sense forboding in Massive Attack's "Safe From Harm" and perhaps also in the level of polish to their productions. Also, the duo employ a host of singers and seemingly disparate stylistic influences to create something quite intense. On one level, "The World Is Gone" features some of the fiercest dubstep beats and sub base to come out of the UK in recent memory, but over all it's an album that defies such an easy pigeonhole. With sweeping orchestral arrangements (the title track) and epic folk ballads ("Circle of Sorrow," "Fly," "Deadman"), up against dark and biting crushers like "Thunk," "Hater," and "Dont Ask," all packaged within some really provocative line art, this is an album sure to become a cult classic. Find out more at XL Recordings or buy it here.