Review: King Midas Sound

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Time Out Ratings :

<strong>Rating: </strong>4/5

There's a reason the term trip-hop is barely uttered anymore: The downtempo, '90s-era sound—initially experimental and moddy—soon devolved into kind of sonic wallpaper more appropriate for mall shopping than postclubbing comedowns. There was, however, a strain of trip-hop—exemplified by the work of producers like Journeyman and Danish trio the Prunes—that never entered the realm of easy listening, and held on to its dark, ominous aura like a vulture gripping its carrion. Waiting for You, the debut album from King Midas Sound, could be considered the dubstep-influenced descendent of that lineage; it's a hazy, haunting and sometimes harrowing soundtrack to the coming end times.

King Midas Sound is a collaboration between vocalist Roger Robinson and studio whiz Kevin Martin, a veteran of the industrial and jazzcore worlds who also records as the Bug. That pedigree shows: Like industrial music, Waiting For You occupies a dystopian, postindustrial environment; like the Bug's material, the album is heavy on dub and deep bass. The beats are buried under thick sheets of eerie haze, and even the up-tempo, almost perky cuts (like the dancehall-tinged "Outer Space") are imbued with a haunted sense of dread. Robinson's half-whispered, singsong falsetto augments that spectral feel, and sometimes seems to be summoning an oracle of doom. (When, close in on the mike, he intones lines like "The earth will kill you if you try to kill it," it doesn't seem like he's being metaphorical.) This is heady, powerful stuff—just don't expect to hear it at your next visit to Aropostale.

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Waiting For You (Hyperdub)

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