Published Oct 22, 2008When "nu-rave" or "new rave" hit two years back it wasn't so much an homage to rave as it was an attempt to cash in on a forgotten scene by using its still glowing corpse to ignite yet another fad to attract the media. It worked but the stars Klaxons, New Young Pony Club, Shitdisco, the Sunshine Underground were as rave as Hot Chip, M.I.A. and CSS, all of whom were lumped in to help the NME sell more copies.
Enigmatic UK producer Zomby makes rave music but not exclusively. He's a chameleon with ADD, often cramming everything from rave, grime, crunk and dubstep to garage, jackin' house, Nintendo and bass lines into whatever space he can, and without compromising the songs as a whole. Next month will see him release a new EP for Hyperdub, home to Burial and Kode9.
But his full-length, Where Were U In '92? (out on Werk Records), is indeed a faithful tribute to the music that inspired air sirens as an instrument, fluorescent colours as fashion, warehouse busts as headline news, glowsticks as the most annoying accessory ever, E as the one and only party drug, and furry pants as the biggest no-no that ever crossed someone's mind.
As its title suggests, it's all about revisiting a time and feeling a certain moment again. When he recently spoke to Pitchfork, he summed up his intentions, saying, "I'm not looking to bring something back. It's more just my vibe I carry through the music. It's the vibe that's gone now. It's totally gone now but I remember it. That's the thing that inspires me. I write from that place." Where Were U In '92? is as much a true rave record as it is a tribute. Oftentimes it feels as original as the fuckin' Prodigy's "Outta Space" or Altern-8's "Activ 8," mainly because he simply has the skills to make tunes on par with them. He utilizes 303s, 808s, 909s, air sirens, oscillating bass, whiplash break beats, sped-up vocals, soulful divas they're all in there. Shit, they're all practically in the one track I'm featuring: "Float."