BY NATTY MORRISON
One of the most intriguing and captivating parts of Sub Swara’s sound is the level of unpredictability found in each track. Just when you think they (a.k.a Dhruva Ganesan and Dave Sharma) might drop it to a straight four on the floor beat, you get glitch; just when it’s supposed to get glitch it gets dub. Every turn and twist through a track turns up new tricks and possibilities. And the surprises don’t all come just from the duo’s blend of styles; they also come from a seemingly endless supply of inventive tones and sampled sounds.
One of the album’s early standout cuts, “Vagabond Knowledge,” sounds about as cinematic as it gets, beginning with the sounds of low winds, a batch of ominous white noise and distant drums thudding somewhere in the background. As the high-synths begin to rise up, the drums become closer and more prominent. The drums sound tribal without sounding cheesy. Everything is coated in a thick layer of mystique and wonder. And that level of fantastic ambience is maintained throughout the majority of the album.
“Future Fresh” kicks off with the stroke of dissonant piano and otherworldly sounds that echo through your headphones like shells at a shooting range. Even when the beat finally drops, it’s evident that this isn’t your everyday downbeat. It’s real headbob stuff, but it’s still joyously absurd when you hear the horn blasts and digitized string lines. There’s a definite sound collage factor in Swara’s music, and they like to use that to their advantage, especially when they’re letting the vocal sounds of hip-hop and soul infiltrate the mix.
Though the last album, “Coup d’Yah,” featured the sounds of dancehall and dub tracks, Ganesan and Sharma have traded those distant chants in for grime-encrusted rhymes and aching soul singing. It’s a decision that this reviewer thinks will pay off in the best of ways. These tracks are all ripe for remixing and live sampling, which I believe is an artist’s best chance for gaining notoriety in the electronic music world. Luckily for all the aspiring remix artists out there, Sub Swara kept you all in mind.
With the album’s release comes an inventive new way to purchase electronic music: four different and carefully designed packs are available on the group’s website. With two of these packs comes a 1.5 GB downloadable sound library of 24 bit AIF sounds & samples, used for this album. The varying prices ensure that every buyer will be able to make the very purchase they desire. Sub Swara is certainly introducing a revolutionary process to distributing its sounds. It makes sense; they’ve already figured out how to revolutionize the very sounds themselves.
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