Shackleton – Man On A String Pt 1+2 / Bastard Spirit

I’ve had Shackleton’s Three EPs LP for a while and kind of filed it away under the ‘fairly decent records that I’ll probably never listen to, due to other stuff being similar but better’ category. After reading decent things about this new 12″ from the man behind Skull Disco though, I was intrigued, so bagged myself a copy.

Shackleton currently lives, like countless other aspiring experimental DJs and producers, in Berlin, and this was in fact where I first came across his work – the outstanding remix he did of Moderat’s huge Rusty Nails. The Rakes even dedicated a track to him on their final (Berlin-recorded) LP KLANG!

With Man On A String, Shackleton has managed to combine the dubstep sensibility of deep, dark, heartbeat bass with an overlying melody comprising of of various instruments that take the listener on a journey across the world, with South American, Asian and Eastern European sounds overlapping and mixing across the track. Here is a piece of sound art that is a metaphor for society itself in the 21st century: sometimes dark, sometimes lonely, sometimes deafening but always the mix of various cultural influences is vital to its function. A masterpiece of contemporary dubstep/world/jazz fusion.

On the flipside, Bastard Spirit is more a taste of traditional familiar dubstep: chest-pounding basslines covered by glitchy crackles, distorted and fragmented vocals with an urban midnight rhythm that progresses through the track. All very good, but frankly nowhere near as interesting as Man On A String. If dark, heroin tinged urban dubstep is your bag, then there’s always Hyperdub favourites Kode9 or Burial to fulfil your needs. Bastard Spirit just seems a bit too little, too late. Which is a shame.

7/10

Man On A String Pt 1+2 / Bastard Spirit is out now on 12″. More info on Discogs.

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