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15 Digital Dub MP3s

If digital dub is your thing, you likely already possess tracks by a handful of the musicians featured on Grow, a 15-song compilation of material drawn from the Agriculture Records catalog, featured currently on the home page of smart-music.net, which, like the Disquiet Downstream, focuses on “free & legal” downloadable music. If digital dub isn’t your bag, then Grow, which overflows with mechanistic echoes of otherwise slack drums, stringed instruments and keyboards, may just change your mind. The Brooklyn-based Agriculture label is a hotbed of contemporary dub, as represented here by such musicians as DJs Olive, Wally and Rupture, as well as Sub Dub (which features the great Raz Mesinai), David Last, Lloop, Mehmet Irdel, Nettle, Sporangia, Ladyman and Once 11. This isn’t the blunted dancehall party music that oftens passes for dub. Inevitably, the outlying tracks are the most interesting, like Irdel’s “Gut,” built from handclaps and percussion, and “Desplazados,” by the aptly named DJ Rupture, which flips the intent of the common dub reverb and uses it as a signal for sudden, disorienting splices. Olive, on “Rooster Rooster,” is more than happy to set a loop on repeat, and let it trace a mystic circle of its own. David Last’s richly sublimated melodies of “Push Pull” have been mentioned in this space previously. Sub Dub’s “Dawa Zangpo,” another favorite, is a particularly tangy treat, with muted vocal snippets that suggest a teamup of Muslimgauze and Public Enemy. The following link is an 80-plus-megabyte archive of the complete set, including cover art (link). More info on the Agriculture label at theagriculture.com.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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  • Marc Weidenbaum founded the website Disquiet.com in 1996 at the intersection of sound, art, and technology, and since 2012 has moderated the Disquiet Junto, an active online community of weekly music/sonic projects. He has written for Nature, Boing Boing, The Wire, Pitchfork, and NewMusicBox, among other periodicals. He is the author of the 33 1⁄3 book on Aphex Twin’s classic album Selected Ambient Works Volume II. Read more about his sonic consultancy, teaching, sound art, and work in film, comics, and other media

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