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  • Filed under: Review
  • 01/07/2013

Damu "If You've Got Nothing to Hide" b/w "You've Got Nothing to Fear"

After a prolific run in 2011, Damu has been relatively quiet for some time; his debut LP, Unity, was the UK producer's last substantial piece of work. In the time between that release and now, it seems that Damu's production aims have changed course, as the "If You've Got Nothing to Hide" b/w "You've Got Nothing to Fear" single moves past the melodically focused bass music which marked his earlier releases. Instead, it offers up a pair of machine-minded club tracks to launch the man's new series of self-released singles.

In the world of underground production, evolving as an artist is essential to staying relevant. For some producers, the evolutionary process comes in measured steps; for others, change comes in large leaps. Damu appears to have followed the latter path—the arrays of glistening arpeggio runs, chopped vocals, and sticky melodies heard on his earlier releases for labels like Local Action and Keysound are virtually absent here, replaced by atonal assemblages of digital percussion and FX, deep sub-bass, and the occasional spacey pad. While it's hard to blame Damu for moving on—the bass-music hybrid of garage and space-age R&B is definitely a style that's fully saturated at this point—those who enjoyed his past work may feel like there is a good deal missing on these pair of tunes.

Fortunately, "If You've Got Nothing to Hide" and "You've Got Nothing to Fear" are both marvels of digital production and showcase some impressively powerful sonic craftsmanship, though their focus on digital wizardry does lead to a slight neglect of songcraft. In truth, this does not make these songs outright bad or even disappointing, as both, particularly the lead cut, are well fitted for heavy-handed DJ sets alongside the machinist bass/techno hybrids that have come from the likes of Benjamin Damage, Cosmin TRG, Untold, and others in recent months. But beyond their usefulness in the technoid arena, these songs do have trouble standing out when compared to the rest of Damu's catalog. Still, when one considers that "If You've Got Nothing to Hide" and "You've Got Nothing to Fear" are aces on a purely sonic level, it's easy to remain optimistic about the forthcoming volumes of Damu's singles series.

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