Tectonic’s moody dubstep has been a breathe of fresh air for the dubstep scene this year as 2562 and label boss Pinch have been on fine form. Now its Jack Sparrow’s turn to move from singles to a full album, eclipsing his labelmates and established acts such as Burial and Martyn with lovingly-crafted tunes which encapsulate house and jungle into a dubstep model which is pushes to its limits.
Kicking off with a 4/4 kick drum that’s been the favourite of Martyn this year, Sparrow builds a solid base starting with “Loveless”, its subtle complexity acts as a calling sign. “Dread” sees Sparrow team up with Ruckspin for a dark ragga-techno rhythm for dubstep purists to loose themselves in as it spits out aggressive beats and mechanical vocals. His VIP version of “The Chase” gets handed a jacking groove while Sparrow ventures into Boxcutter territory with “Salvation” as all manner of samples and haunting snippets overlay minimal beats.
Circadian is essential dubstep listening.
As the sound of Circadian evolves, Sparrow uses his top production skills to craft atmospheric tunes that grow darker and more moody. Just when you worry that Sparrow might get too lost in the depth of his own tracks, he about faces on “Relapse” for 160bpm monster of tune blending the best of jungle and breakcore before he lets off the gas for “Regress” as a moment to pause and reflect on the musical journey he has taken us on in time for closing track “Exit” to cross into Bural land: a soft, lush soundscape to warm down from the frenetic finale.
Circadian is possibly the most accomplished dubstep album of the year. Sparrow keeps to the Tectonic philosophy of ensuring the slightest of drum kicks or smallest of samples is lovingly placed, venturing into dark recesses from an upbeat start and emerging in a burst of energy. With such impressive production and real vision for the genre, Circadian is essential dubstep listening.