Dubtraktion’s opener “Bodega Dub” calls to mind a dank concrete basement – no windows, a slight fragrance of mildew, a single light bulb swinging from the smooth ceiling. Below the bulb sits the drummer, carrying along at his deliberate clip while the guitarist picks the subtleties from his nylon strings. Ambient textures fill the room, and all the pieces click.
Downtempo-dub at its source, the track moves with a concentrated, steady rhythm; beating under the soft melodic waves of a muted nylon guitar and its complementary bass. The dark undertones provide a splendid introduction to FNDMNTL, a versatilely vibrant “dub-hop” trio.
“Huge Raven” picks up the tempo with high-energy instrumental hip-hop beats layered with even more muted electrics, latin-styled acoustics, and pleasantly produced programming. A catchy bass melody baits the listener near the beginning, but is soon overtaken by beautifully crafted hip-hop rhythms. Muted horns and subtle electronic beat tweaks pull the track toward uncharted territory, but never sound forced in their execution.
FNDMNTL’s refreshing brand of electronically fused instrumentals is prominently displayed throughout Dubtraktion, though isn’t immediately apparent on the first few listens. The subtle variation in ambient sounds and drum characteristics (not only across the EP, but across the individual tracks themselves) makes it a fun, albeit short, listen.
Each of the tracks has its own personality and, as a whole, the EP feels like a soundtrack to a film. Perhaps a film that hasn’t yet been made – one that begins in a basement and features a dancing light bulb and infectious downtempo-dub. That’s a movie I would watch on repeat.
Take a listen to my home-brewed instrumental/indietronic album
"The Past Is a Story We Tell Ourselves"
I'm told that it sounds like The Album Leaf, Balmorhea, and Emancipator.