Online, UK producer Zomby cultivates a fairly mysterious presence, but music speaks louder than the blogosphere. Indeed, Zomby has shared his most eloquent and personal release yet with Dedication, his debut full length release for the 4AD imprint. According to AMG, the dedicatee in question is the producer’s father, who passed away while the album was being made. And while there’s little time to pause for reflection in 35 minute long rush in which Dedication’s fifteen track’s are delivered, there’s an undeniable warmth of presence, a humanist deconstruction of dubstep to foreground its most accessible melodic elements, which signals a palpable shift in Zomby’s musical values.
For every ode to glitch electronica, such as the percussion-filled “Vortex,” there is an impossibly lovely watercolor synth/dance essay like “Natalia’s Song” that serves as a musical counterweight. And tracks like “Haunted” and “Basquiat” integrate an affecting lyricism into Zomby’s already multifaceted sound world. If one had a tiny quibble, it would simply be that several of these cuts could easily have been extended to allow them to blossom more fully. But one still must admit that, as a compressed document, everything works. Dedication proves to be a lithe and essential sonic essay on the potential for dance electronica to be reinvigorated as a boldly moving idiom on more levels than the merely kinetic.