R&S / Cedars
SCQ Rating: 77%
Without even looking back over its obvious high watermark, we’ve apparently reached the other end of dub-step’s arc. Post-dubstep – at least that’s how an associate of Marley Carroll described the tonal language on R&S / Cedars, the digital twelve-inch self-released this summer. So… congratulations? I don’t know; how does one even approach a subgenre like post-dubstep when its parent style’s definition was obscure enough to include both Burial and Skrillex?
Luckily R&S / Cedars trumps the name game by oscillating its own contained – and tantalizingly brief – sound environment. Born out of dub-step’s generous negative space, “R&S” blossoms into a meditative excursion, merging thick bass with hopeful keys that pass like sun-rays along the wall. “Water Drumming” and “Cedars” take Marley Carroll’s contemplative locations to quicker tempos, utilizing a beautiful collage of rain, natural percussion and drone on the former. The cut-up vocals that nonsensically chatter through “Cedars” don’t hurt the track per se, but they swing the listener’s attention from its gorgeous background haze to the club-oriented artifice that screams 2012. To be clear, creating a sound for 2012 isn’t necessarily a bad thing but when R&S / Cedars has spent its majority sounding like a luxurious bamboo forest entirely devoid of time and trend, well, you can’t really put a name on that.