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13 May 13
Review: Making for a matching with hard-to-imagine results, Mala gets the remix treatment from James Blake in his Harmonimix guise and issues it forth on his own Deep Medi imprint. It's a bold treatment from Blake, who teases the track to life on a twee arrangement of music box chimes and tones, while a central vocal coos out the dominant melody. There's a mid-section with the only discernible slither of beat which sounds like familiar Blake territory, not least through the bluesy keys vibe that it carries. However, it's the monolithic brass-aping clarion call which comes steaming in to steal the show, trumping out its orders in a suitably epic fashion which is nothing if not rousing.
06 Aug 12
Review: Unlike Mark Lawrence's previous releases, which are primarily expressive of the UK urban environment, Cuba Electronic relies on Latin American influences to delve deeper into the artist's own personal take on dub music. The title track on Side A sees Mala bring out his trademark percussion but this time it's more grounded in tribal roots, where skipping bongos and heavy hi-hats collide with his well-known love for subbass levels. Up next, "Calle" is further based around Cuban musical heritage, where a fast, progressive percussion makes way for stunning trumpet samples and shiny melodies. Another fine instalment of UK-flavoured electronic music from the gifted Mala!
10 Sep 12
Played by: Ennio Styles (Stylin Radio Show), Brisa, Juno Recommends Deep House, Winter, Matta, Blind Prophet (South Fork Sound), El Carnicero, Alert, Diphasic, Larssen
Review: Mala's album project comes to light with a healthy amount of expectation. The DMZ / Deep Medi Musik main man has always carried a reverence amongst the dubstep scene for his unfussy approach, staying true to the sound he helped forge in the nascent days of the genre while avoiding over-exposure or buckling to hype and trend where so many of his peers succumbed to change. As such this project sees the man well outside of his comfort zone as he tackles a specific album project whilst sticking his head more clearly overground to work with Gilles Peterson on an adventure in Cuba working with local musicians. This is most definitely Mala's music, and the spiritual, tribal nature of his productions to date only gets enhanced by the influx of Cuban folk sounds. This is no simple case of ripping samples and dropping them for token effect though; the percussive patterns and licks of piano, guitar, horns and voice are completely interwoven into the South London pressure as if they were always meant to be. It's testament to the pure approach Mala takes in the studio that he manages to balance these unlikely bedfellows to such fluid effect. Undoubtedly there will be naysayers who will argue that in doing an album of this nature Mala is diluting his purist vision for dubstep, but in truth the approach and end results he has managed to conjure up bring a revitalising, fresh angle to the genre, which is what it needs in abundance. There's maybe a lack of the "shock of the new" factor as Cubano music is not exactly a stranger to UK dance music forms, and Mala isn't exactly switching his own stance too drastically, but ultimately that doesn't matter. The whole album is direct and immensely satisfying to listen to, capturing the alluring spirit of South American folk tradition and empowering it with the transcendental nature of dubstep in its finest form.