Review Summary: Once the crushing self-realizations ease up after a couple more listens, it is actually a good album.Deliverance
, the fourth album from critically-acclaimed dubstep producer Culprate, is probably the most frustrating album I’ve ever heard.
In 2014, I had been producing my own electronic music for about four years. Culprate had been in my line of sight for the last two, since he had a knack for putting out solid bunches of tracks in short, concise EPs. The 5 Star EP was the first release from him that I noted, which was released in 2011. While it deviated from the typical dubstep formula, and it wasn’t afraid of throwing in off-kilter rhythms, it still adhered to the field of electronica. Every song showed off his skills using synthesizers and sequenced drums. The same year 5 Star was released, the full-length album Colours came hot on its tail. This showcased his talent, which seemed to go orders of magnitude beyond what his EPs had brought to the table. It was still 90% electronic, but it told the listener that it was still possible for electronic music to be groundbreaking. There were no obvious inspirations in Culprate’s music. It was sincerely him.
I thought Colours was the best thing electronic music could do, at the time. Three years later, after several months of crowdfunding and not releasing a single teaser as to what Culprate was about to unleash, the album Deliverance
was finally released. It shattered every preconception I had about music.
It opens with what could be considered a ballad. The track ‘Whispers, Pt. 1’ contains lush vocalizations from a mysterious, albeit sweet and tender voice. There are two main guitar riffs, one of which is essentially two notes, but it is utilized perfectly to add to the atmosphere of the track. There’s a saxophone at the end. No-one in the dubstep community had heard about a saxophone (which wasn’t sampled from a Youtube video or ripped from a vinyl record) being used by any dubstep artist in a song. Every single listener was blown away. Within a tight group, Deliverance
was sending colossal waves to everyone who chose to come near it.
The frustrating aspect of it, though, is that it seems to offer more questions than answers. Many dubstep artists in Culprate’s time were willing to give production advice, or send their fellow producers unreleased tracks. There were collaborations aplenty. To many of the fans and up-and-coming producers trying to recreate the sounds of p0gman or Midnight Tyrannosaurus, the dubstep community felt comfortable, at ease. Culprate, at the time, didn’t offer any explanation to his music. He didn’t have production livestreams or anything of the sort. This left every listener completely astonished, because it was hard to tell what was acoustic and what was electronic. It’s still hard to this day. The song ‘In The End’ features seamless blends of soft drums that might
be sequenced, but they might not be. There are breathy voices taking up empty spaces in the stereo field, and those might
come from a computer. They could also be recordings of someone singing in a very ambiguous manner.
While listening to Deliverance
, the electronic music producer in me had two simultaneous realizations. This was the kind of music I wanted to make. It’s the music going through my head when I’m feeling absent-minded. However, it’s also something I will never be able to achieve. How could anyone have the patience to put what sounds like years of work into just one song? Now, over two years later, I’m at the point where I feel comfortable and less self-conscious while listening to the album, but back then it was a heartbreaking experience.
is intimidating, and that’s putting it lightly. There are unprecedented twists and turns in every detail of the album. It makes listeners wonder how such sounds and manipulations are even accomplished in the first place. No-one was as bold as Culprate was, at least not in the community he was in. Saxophone solos were not put into dubstep music. The songs weren’t interrupted to make room for samples of another cassette tape being inserted. (If that’s even what the sample is. I’m talking about the song ‘Within’.) No sane person would juxtapose soft guitar melodies with 808 acid synths. It was crazy. Unthinkable. But Culprate seems to like doing the unthinkable.