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  • Filed under: Review
  • 11/11/2011

DVA "Madness" b/w "Polyphonic Dreams"

After having itself a relatively quiet 2011, Kode9's Hyperdub imprint is wrapping up the year with a small flurry of releases, including the latest single from UK funky oddball and Rinse FM morning man DVA. "Madness" b/w "Polyphinc Dreams" is the London producer's first proper single since 2010's "Just Vybe (Soule:Power Mix)" b/w "Step 2 Funk," and while it shows him to still be a master of the seasick synth line, the record also features an unusual collaboration with soulful crooner Vikter Duplaix.

"Madness" is the end product of that collaboration, and while it's interesting, it would be a stretch to call it good. Although Duplaix's pipes are more or less flawless, his vocals don't exactly mesh with DVA's dizzy melodies. The drum work is also a bit lacking, especially from an artist known for big snares and inventive programming. While DVA most likely dialed down the percussion to create some breathing room for Duplaix's vocals, the off-kilter shuffle that he does employ comes off a bit limp. As such, even the instrumental version of "Madness," which is also included on the release, does little more than meander.

On the other hand, the record's b-side, "Polyphonic Dreams," is a stellar offering. It's still a bit weird—this is a DVA tune, after all—but the song kicks off with hard, cracking snares and never relents throughout its five-minute runtime. While the pounding percussion is at the core of "Polyphonic Dreams," the track's colorful maelstrom of whirling, psychedelic synth melodies is just as potent, and the song's lilting notes nimbly skate the line between sonic bliss and sonic overload. There's a lot happening here, but digesting the multitude of melodies is well worth the effort.

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