Review Summary: On his mesmerizing second full length, Clubroot combines just the right amounts of ambiance, subtle beats and interwoven samples to create a dubstep album that breaths electronic life.
If you were to ask a varied group of music lovers what they believe the genre of dubstep should consist of, you’ll probably get some very inconsistent ideas of what the genre should and does sound like. Most fans of the genre simply look for the artists that will deliver them the most earth shattering bass drops, and those which can cram as many different sounding whomps and wubs as they can into three minutes. These newly emerging ideas are held by a disturbingly large amount of dubstep scene kids, and the genre has been recently plagued by dozens of copy-cat artists who are all finding marginal success by latching onto these clichés. As for the rest of us dubstep lovers, we search deeper into the constantly evolving and multi-layered genre to find those lesser known artists that bring something fresh and innovative to the music. Those artists who can embrace minimalism, but have just enough going on in their music to keep the listener intrigued and excited to hear what kind of new sonic landscapes can be created with layered synths and beats. There are numerous dubstep artists that do dubstep right, and Clubroot is leading the pack. Clubroots is a musician form the United Kingdom which is the birthplace of dubstep, so don’t expect any of dubsteps modern gimmicks on this record. On his second full length, Clubroot crafts a mesmerizing album by combining just the right amounts of ambiance, subtle beats and interwoven samples. Every song breaths electronic life and glows with an aura of passion, emotion, beauty and mystery.
The albums starts with one of the most beautiful tracks in contains, called "Orbiting". The song begins with ambient synth lines slowly rising, followed by majestic flute and vocal samples and a soft beat. The album has barely begun and you know you’re hearing some of the most atmospheric dubstep out there. The low, constant bass enters along with a more prominent beat and you begin to get the sensation of well, orbiting above the earth. It’s a perfect way to begin the album. The following track "Waterways" is a deeply emotional song that again showcases some great flute and vocal samples, along with some shaky beats in the background that are reminiscent of old Burial tracks. Next up is "Dry Cured", which picks up the pace a little bit with some pulsating and electric vocal lines and minimal synths. These three songs set the stage for the rest of the album and show the listener the ambient, relaxing electronic music they can expect throughout the next seven tracks. Another notable track is Dust Storm, which uses middle eastern sounding string samples and dirty bass lines in the background, both which are complemented by a very tribal sounding beat consisting of ride cymbals, whipping snare drum hits and additional percussion.
II-MMX is a very ambient album, especially for dubstep. Sometimes the songs can feel a bit dragging at first, but with multiple listens I found that every song has something interesting and unique to offer. I would love to give this album a 4.5 rating, but there are minor drawbacks that prevent it from being a superb album. A few songs overstay their welcome, and at some points in the album the listener may want to skip to the next track to see what else Clubroot is able of creating instead of letting the songs fully develop. Either way, Clubroot has some amazing ideas at work here and II-MMX is a perfect example of his ability to create unique and powerful dubstep. II-MMX is an album that will appeal to many different music listeners. Those who enjoy dubstep, ambient or any type of electronic music should definitely give this album a spin. Also if you are interested in the genre at all, this is a great album to start with and it’s a nice change of pace from the hard hitting dubstep that is so common these days. This album has opened my eyes to many other excellent artists in the genre and has also showed me what standards artists should strive for when creating dubstep. For fans of Burial, Ital Tek, Kryptic Minds and Distance.