IndianElectronica - Dark Matter EP Review

ANUJ RASTOGI - DARK MATTER

This second release from Toronto, Canada based producer Anuj Rastogi just consists of 5 tracks; compared to his 2007 Omnesia release, Dark Matter achieves focus on a particular aesthetic by just being a mini-EP, with total play time of 26 minutes.

As one might imagine from its title , this album isn't summertime picnic listening – Rastogi plays with characteristics of dub-step (namely, half-time rhythm and emphasis on bass-lines) successfully to offer these dense tracks which are packed with snippet-samples of harmonics and vocals.

At first listen, the album showcases its grit but then definition emerges between the tracks as you listen to them a few more times; Bassic Instinct is an aggressively rolling/repetitive piece that leads the listener along with a variety of samples tucked into a santoor loop which flourishes at points to mark temporal progression. Militant Flower features synth sounds reminiscent of late 1990s 'industrial/IDM' groups like Muslim Gauze - paired perfectly with a light airy flute and the rhythmic chime of bells. Code Blue is the track which stood out the most to me – its one of the best uses of tabla with sarod in dub-step to date. Sampling Indian religious hymns along with the voice of Yoda from Star Wars, Darth Veda is the longest track on the EP and is an interesting take on dubbing a film which is well known for an established visual, if not aural as well, aesthetic. Shadow Crawl softly ends the EP through showcasing string harmonics supported by muted percussion to highly nostalgic effect.

All in all, this EP is a refreshing listen because it highlights fancy rather than attempting to display a balanced wealth of production capabilities; Rastogi is simply saying “I've been interested in what's going on with dub-step and wanted to take a stab at interpreting through my musical style.” For that, its a great listen and one which lovers of all things dub will get a kick out of.

Rating (out of 5):  4
Released:  Aug 2008

IndianElectronica - Dark Matter EP Review

Qasim Virjee