Friday 15 September 2017


To find a sort of absolutism for sounds and styles of sounds in the music world today is something of a rare thing. Genres have become so fluid and superfluous a notion that, instead of being rallied around and defining a fanbase, they are treated more like palettes, or moodboards, and can be blended in new ways according the artists' desires. And so it is with musicmaker DUCKY. In particular 'What U Say' is a cocktail of chiptune, VGM, dubstep, pop, footwork, drum and bass, an experimental track, as many tracks that make their way into the pages of yes/no tend to be; gone is the label of 'experimental' as mere code for 'abstract' or 'unlistenable', experimental is vibrant and fresh and very online.

But to say that is to discredit the clear leaning towards, or rather the roots in, rave and specifically dubstep and the combination of sweet upbeatness – euphoria – and hard, noisy, quite dark manifestations that loom in both. 'What U Say' begins something like a track from SNES racer Top Gear, triumphal synths blaring overdriven abrasive, pulsing bass bobbling with excitement. It builds, handclaps taking us to the apex from where we plummet into grinding squelching synth and a punchy thudding beat. Vocodered vocals skip like a robotic sirensong. A small bridge where marimba-like chimes resound darkly amidst warm crackles and ominous tides of sub-bass gloop. And at breakneck speed: rapid kicks take us back into the chaos of neon bubblegum high-end melodies and scraping searing synth that storms with the beat.

Delicately, that chiming once more in earshot, DUCKY's track ends. And you realise, despite the squalling dubstep sounds at work, despite the familiar rhythms, it is alive with freshness, with emotivity, illustrating chaos and calm like an electronic symphony.

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