Vex'd
Cloud Seed


3.5
great

Review

by Nick Butler EMERITUS
March 26th, 2010 | 14 replies


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Much softer. Much dubbier. Still seriously, seriously good.

When Vex'd's excellent Degenerate dropped in 2005, its main selling point (some might argue its only selling point) is that it was hard. When tracks like "Pop Pop" and "Lion" dropped their violent, bare-knuckled basslines amidst chest-thumping compressed snare sounds, it hit harder than just about anything released that year; more than anything else released in the genre up until that point, it was focused entirely on being heavy.

Yet in dubstep, just as in any electronic genre worth its salt, five years is a long time. Being hard isn't enough any more. In fact, it's almost a bad thing by this point. The harder end of dubstep has been largely claimed by artless tattooed goons who've just migrated from Hatebreed to Krooks; at least two major UK publications using the phrase 'chavstep', while Caspa in particular became the subject of a Guardian article comparing him to Guy Ritchie, another guy who's made his fortunes by trying far too hard to act like a council estate thug, and somehow succeeding in staying on their side despite being hated by critics. Vex'd were likely a big influence on that scene - but Cloud Seed is a clear marker that they're desperate to break away from it. The two albums could scarcely be more different.

A shift from ketamine to cannabis is the order of the day on the slyly-titled Cloud Seed; it's dubstep with the emphasis heavily on the dub. Parts of this record steer surprisingly close to reggae - think "Monolith" by Gravious for a frame of reference - and the drums of the opening few tracks in particular are pure '70s Jamaica. Most surprisingly, the remix of the second movement of Gabriel Prokofiev's String Quartet no. 2 that first appeared in 2007 appears here - even the acknowledgement that classical music exists would have been anathema to Degenerate, but it sits here just fine, even if it's one of the album's weaker moments, and Sergei's grandson is no stranger to electronic music himself. A few other remixes for the last couple of the years flesh out this album too - the version of Plaid's "Bar Kimura" being the pick of the bunch.

It's generally a more song-based album too, with Anneka contributing to the excellent "Heart Space" (her work here might be the most traditional vocal appearance on a truly great dubstep track since Pinch's Underwater Dancehall), frequent dubstep collaborator Warrior Queen showing up on the opening "Take Time Out", and Soviet rapper Jest putting in a Bug-esque turn on "Disposition".

All credit possible must go to Vex'd for this album; they've pulled off a major about-turn in their style with an unusual confidence and flair. Cloud Seed is nothing like you imagined, and yet, it's everything you'd hoped for.



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user ratings (18)
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3.5
great
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Iai
Emeritus
March 26th 2010


3553 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Could the second word of this review be any more awkward?

DFelon204409
Emeritus
March 26th 2010


3995 Comments


Been meaning to get this for a while. I really liked his EP last year. Also, iai you need to check out Starkey (Vex'd remixed a track of his earlier this year). Starkey has a new album Black Holes and Ear Drums (I know it sounds a bit like Muse) that is just bomb.

Skimaskcheck
March 26th 2010


2360 Comments


Vex'd's is definitely a horrible word haha, almost as horrible as 'chavstep'?!
Not really that into dubstep but might check this out, is it easy-to-get-into?

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
March 26th 2010


31173 Comments


Pretty much agree with everything said in the review. I was rather surprised by the huge change in sound, but they've done a bang up job with this as well. And seeing as how 16Bit has pretty much continued the sound these guys started it doesn't bother me that they've decided to go down another route sonically

Digging: LV and Joshua Idehen - Islands

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
March 26th 2010


31173 Comments


I'd say Remains Of The Day, Nails, & Out Of The Hills

Eskate87
March 26th 2010


959 Comments


never heard of them, will check out

MaskAtTheMasquerade
March 27th 2010


2887 Comments


had this for a little while now, i need to give it a proper listen.

Dogget
March 27th 2010


781 Comments


This sounds sweet, I've gone off dubstep loads recently because I can't find anything good and tbh I'm not sure where to look, but this sounds like it's got potential.

Wish
March 27th 2010


262 Comments


Need to check this out. Loved Degenerate. Their remix of 'Fallen' is amazing.

Jim
March 27th 2010


5110 Comments


front cover looks cool for some reason. should check this out.

Wish
March 28th 2010


262 Comments


Oooh, really feeling "Heart Space".

joshuatree
Emeritus
April 7th 2010


3742 Comments


weird how review has nothing about the group's split/how this album is essentially b-sides

fish.
Contributing Reviewer
April 21st 2012


21965 Comments


can't find a working download of this

zorius
November 13th 2013


5 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I can totally understand, that a review needs a "spine" or something, like a guideline. Here, this is the "5 year is a long time" thingie. Which is good, if You search for a clue, why the major sound change happened.
The only hitch is with this theory, that the album was almost entirely produced right after the first LP, in 2006.
They released it in 2010, because of the label's ask, and furthermore they left it nearly unchanged, as it was left unfinished in 2007. They didn't want to break the magic of moment, when it was originally written.
If we accept your explanation on the need of style change, and we know the facts I mentioned before, then we have to admit, that they overtook the time...



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