When it comes down to it, Zomby isn't really an artist concerned with albums, or—we should say—the kind of flow that helps make a strong album. But that's exactly part of what defines the anonymous producer's records: Even the consistent UK hardcore revivalism of Where Were U in '92 is marked by abrupt starts and stops, and Dedication, one of the strongest LPs of 2011, sounds more like the leaked beat tape of a frantic insomniac than a calculated artist statement. So, it's no surprise that the Nothing EP sounds like nothing more than a requisite follow-up release to help promote Zomby's new 4AD album, which it likely is. Thankfully, his leftovers deserve about as much attention as his main courses.
The seven offerings that make up the 22-minute Nothing EP—which, incidentally, boasts less than half the number of tracks on Dedication, but is merely 13 minutes shorter—more or less stand alone; each one highlights the disparate influences of rave, dub, grime, and hip-hop that color in Zomby's varied production styles. "Labyrinth," "Sens," and "Ecstasy Versions" will certainly appeal to those fans still hoping for a sequel to Where Were U in '92, while tunes like "Digital Fractal" and "Equinox" tend to outshine many of the blippy numbers on the ho-hum One Foot Ahead of the Other EP. The two freshest cuts to be heard, "It Was All a Dream" and "Trapdoor," rival some of the most compelling moments on Dedication. Sparse rhythms pair with disconcerting synth melodies, obtuse basslines, and the stock sound effects Zomby loves so much to make an alluring cocktail of right and wrong, old and new, original and borrowed.
If you happen to fall in love with just one of Nothing's tunes (it's quite tempting to call them b-sides), or are subsequently driven to discover the elusive producer's previous work, the EP will have done its job. But if it all sounds just a bit too familiar and seems a tad forced, no one could really blame you for saying so.