Bokeh Versions have garnered something of a reputation for extracting some of the most esoteric interpretations of current day dub music out of its roster. Japan’s Mars89 continues this trend, but with a slightly broader span of influence and vision than the label’s usual fare.

Presented as a limited-to-100 C40 cassette, this 8 tracker clocks in as more of a mini-LP – certainly, there’s a massive diversity in style and mood across these tracks, all held together by a tendency towards subtractive compositional style, as is the dub way.

Another thing that holds these tracks together is an incredibly individual approach to rhythm, informed by a vast range of genres both inside and outside the dub continuum. Dancehall, club, gqom and more all make their influences known, alongside the more traditional half time fare of tracks like Poltergeist. Even here though, cross-rhythms disturb the traditional flow, and the cavernous sound design takes dub’s aesthetic to a conclusive breaking point.

A dancehall-derived beat drives Shaman’s House – there’s a faint suggestion of Equiknoxx and other contemporary dancehall artists here. On later tracks like Bandersnatch and OOBE, Mars89’s rhythms move faster and harder, occupying a space somewhere between Grime, Dub and techno. Ethereal vox and birdsong maintain the vibe set earlier on the EP, and round out the package in a decisive and satisfying crescendo.

Awesome stuff from a guy you’ve probably never heard of, we’re paying attention now…

 

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