Zomby
With Love


4.5
superb

Review

by TMobotron CONTRIBUTOR (25 Reviews)
June 13th, 2013 | 219 replies | 10,495 views


Release Date: 06/17/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Zomby indulges himself.

Upon the mere announcement of With Love, I had huge expectations for a strong album of the year contender. I have yet to hear a Zomby track that I have been really dissatisfied with, and after thoroughly rinsing the entirety of Zomby’s released discography I’ve spent plenty of time hunting down his unreleased work - radio mixcuts, demos he put online himself, and tracks that seemingly surfaced out of thin air - and there’s far more to be found of his unreleased material than all of his released tracks combined. It’s not an impressive statistic on its own, but the quality of the tracks he considers to be throwaways is downright astounding. Part of what makes him such a compelling producer to keep up with is his choice to do something completely different almost every time he puts out material. Focusing on his two full-lengths alone, Where Were U In ‘92 was a bombastic throwback to early 90s rave music and Dedication was a restrained, somber mood piece dedicated to the memory of his father. Sonically they are about as opposite as electronic music can get, but both albums had very clearly defined intentions that kept Zomby’s sprawling creative mind on a leash. It was a method that worked to turn those albums into well-executed and focused displays of Zomby’s talent, but on With Love we finally get to hear his work completely unrestrained in the form of a 33-track double-album.

For the first time on a major release, Zomby makes no effort to surprise us with his approach. The majority of the aesthetics found on With Love are built from the same haunting melodies and sinister 8-bit synth-lines that were draped over the reflective framework of 2011’s Dedication, but there’s an extra level of depth and immersiveness to be found in the mixing and mastering that went into the album that allows the familiar moodiness to sound fuller, more expansive, and just plain impressive on a technical level alone. The reverb-laden percussion is thunderous, the dark synth-lines swell and drift seemingly forever into the aural spaciousness, only completely disappearing when they have been forgotten or a new one overtakes them. Tracks like “If I Will” and “Memories” pit the discordant pace of the twinkling synth lines against the underlying 2-step-influenced percussion in the captivating way he has dazzled us with in the past on tracks like “Equinox”. But this isn’t just Dedication Part 2 or a continuation of The Nothing EP, though the latter is likely the best comparison to be made against his previous work. Among the familiar there are tracks rooted in the jungle/breakbeat stylings of his rave throwbacks, tracks that advance the ideas found on Dedication, and quite a few surprises that make up some of his most memorable work yet.

Without the somber tone and purpose behind Dedication, the moodiness of that album, when found here, has been beefed up with much of the energy and thunderous low-end that embodied the rave madness from Where Were U In ‘92. The album never quite reaches that level of intensity with the exception of “Overdose” which is a breakcore track whose frenetic percussion is rivalled only by the blistering pace of “Hench” from ‘92. With Love instead typically opts to display its dancefloor appeal through the power of garage’s infectious 2-step shuffle, dubstep’s half-time kick-snare pattern, and hip-hop’s slow, thumping style; all of which here have been manipulated into the earthquake-rumblings of monstrous 808 bass kicks, echoing snares, and Zomby’s love of skittering hi-hats.

There isn’t much of an overall theme to be found on With Love, especially in the first half. Indeed, the pacing and scatter-brained nature of the track ordering is most reminiscent of listens through the hodge-podge of unreleased material of his in its unplanned order, rather than one of his more focused albums. The rapid beginnings and endings of tracks is somewhat of a trademark of Zomby’s, but without the feeling of unity among the tracks they end up feeling like various one-off ideas jumbled together. In many ways, the randomness is what keeps the album listenable in its lengthy duration. Any level of monotony in a double-album can be crippling to its enjoyment, but the lack of a universal purpose or feeling behind the tracks does make the album feel a bit too much like a compilation of tracks rather than a proper album, and the lack of a flowing nature contributes to a slight difficulty in staying put for a full listen which his previous work almost demanded. What ropes you in for the full ride is the sheer power and captivating nature of some of the tracks here. Zomby’s worship of old-school rave has given him an ability to forge some of the most infectious work since that era. It comes in the form of the wriggling bassline on “Isis” that forces its way into your head and won’t leave for days, the staggering sway of “The Things You Do”’s simplistic hip-hop rhythms and melodies, the twisted retro sampling of “VI-XI”, the welcome return to Zomby’s roots in plain old dubstep on “Pyrex Night”, and in the album’s most shining moments we are rewarded with something much deeper and more important.

The entire album is a prime example of a masterful melding of the introspective mood found in the best deep electronic music and the infectious nature of dance music, as Zomby has been for most of his career. But perhaps the most important moment on the album is when the 8-bit bleeps and pounding percussive elements are all stripped down for the warmest, most uplifting track of Zomby’s career, “Glass Ocean”. It’s drenched in melancholy, but there’s a triumphant feeling of hopefulness that acts as a jarring shift in mood from the overpowering dark nature of With Love to remind us that although there has been a dark focus in Zomby’s music since the events and period surrounding Dedication, the music itself is a gift forged out of love and passion. Dedicated to himself, dedicated to us, all of it With Love.



Recent reviews by this author
Millie and Andrea Drop The VowelsVoices From The Lake Voices From The Lake
Depth Connection Fever DreamsFatima Al Qadiri Asiatisch
Strict Face Fountains/Highbury SkylineA/T/O/S A/T/O/S
user ratings (86)
Chart.
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
TMobotron
Contributing Reviewer
June 13th 2013


7105 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Front to back the album delivers hard. The album comes out on Monday/Tuesday depending on where you live.

Disc 2 is streaming here:

http://pitchfork.com/advance/

Disc 1 was streaming there last week. It's not anymore, but you can find it floating around the interwebs if you look hard enough.

FelixCulpa
June 13th 2013


1240 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice review. I am quite enjoying what I'm hearing from this so far. First time really dwelling into Zomby.

Rev
June 13th 2013


9422 Comments


Monster review for a monster album


Still gotta give this a spin

Typhoner
June 13th 2013


851 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Massive review, like the album. All over the place, just like the album. Review's is great, pos'd, although I'm not pretending I've read it in full detail (it's too late for that, now).

Although all over the place, it's a real Zomby album in every respect. I've only heard the first disk, but I'm definitely going to get this.

Digging: Banks - Goddess

Tyrannic
June 13th 2013


3262 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Is there any way someone who operates exclusively on a smartphone can stream this? P4k sucks ass

ethixx
June 13th 2013


1170 Comments


nice review dude

TMobotron
Contributing Reviewer
June 13th 2013


7105 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks for the kind words dudes. And unfortunately I don't think so Tyrannic. I tried to listen at work and was kind of surprised a site as big as p4k doesn't have mobile support for that. You'll definitely enjoy it though if you can get your hands on a copy.

You guys should try to get your hands on disc 1 if you're just checking the stream though. It's a good taste of the album but disc 1 is better IMO and I also thought disc 2 worked better in the context of the first one, but you can't go wrong either way.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
June 13th 2013


31153 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

Yeah, disc 1 is definitely the stronger of the two. Like, it kind of sucks that Zomby, of all people, has bought into the trap craze. Some of his ideas in that style work really well, but it sucks that the better part of disc 2 is essentially just the same recycled beat

Digging: Banks - Goddess

TMobotron
Contributing Reviewer
June 13th 2013


7105 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah I think the way he handles it is kind of cool but he definitely re-uses it too much. It's not much of a problem because a lot of it rides on the awesome melodies and I really dig the first half of disc 2 still. The last half of that disc is the only part I have any problems with but it's growing on me a lot the more I listen to this in full, it kind of feels like a wind-down segment. Even at its worst its still really good though, and most of it is amazing IMO.

gosk8n
June 13th 2013


1048 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Overdose is the tune of the year for me

Digging: Jonny L - Magnetic

Jash
June 13th 2013


4244 Comments


Wicked review man, looking forward to sitting down and giving this a spin

SubtleBody
June 14th 2013


519 Comments


need to hear this

DissolvingAtom
June 14th 2013


71 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

there is definitely a trap influence on this disc

but dedication was kinda trappy too


Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
June 14th 2013


31153 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

Uh, when? Apart from some hi-hat overload in 'Witch Hunt' maybe

MisterTornado
Contributing Reviewer
June 14th 2013


4507 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

i wasn't buying into the idea of zomby-meets-trap either at first, but damn has it grown

Typhoner
June 14th 2013


851 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

the full album is streaming on spotify btw

gosk8n
June 14th 2013


1048 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

so much genre hopping on this album

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
June 14th 2013


6448 Comments


Terrific piece man. Massive props.

I have yet to check this out, but I always found his other work so hit-and-miss. I guess this will do nothing to change that feeling I've got with him, but I'm certainly expecting some gems on here.

Digging: Interpol - El Pintor

treeqt.
June 14th 2013


9704 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

will check this hard today

Digging: Luigi Nono - A Pierre; Quando stanno morendo;

sniper
June 14th 2013


19049 Comments


stoked to check this out



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy