[rating=3.00]

I’ve always wondered what popping an ecstasy pill would feel like; how it would feel if my brain were racing so fast that everything around me slowed down to a crawl. In that respect, Zomby does a great job in taking care of the music department, as Dedication kicks off with definite club music vibe slowed down to mid-tempo grooves. The music should rightfully be several times faster than it actually is, and it takes some settling into; it’s an odd feeling. But like they say (‘they’ being non-existent entities I just made up for the sake of convenience): Odd is always interesting, if nothing else.

On the surface, the music has that distinct quality which makes you dance around like an idiot. But the vehemence with which the synths and the electronic percussions attack, all with a measured and slowed down breathlessness, makes you also want to take a step back and appreciate the ephemeral quality of the music as well. The production on Dedication can get a little jarring at times, with the synths and pads getting far too overpowering and almost noisy at times, especially on tracks like “Black Orchid” and “Riding with Death”. The first half of the album seems to whiz by (very slowly of course) as it largely follows the themes it develops right from the off, with minor but exciting diversions made every now and then. All in all, the listening experience doesn’t seem nearly as fulfilling as it promises.

However, after seducing me with the peculiar style and then milking that style for too long, Zomby take a sharp deviation into far more interesting territories, as the electronic motifs become far more cultured in the second half of the album, setting a tense film-score mood, developing sound-scapes with short tracks, some of them barely a minute in length. Here on in, Zomby manages to nail the dark, unsettling new-age soundtrack vibe with a sense of sinister leanings lurking just around every corner. The jarring production drifts into mid-heavy synth pads and percussion glitches which hold back just enough for a sense of melancholy, before the shadowy patterns return for some paranoia.

Like most drugs, I’m assuming that ecstasy also has a come-down period, which is probably quite frightening. The last few songs off the album mirror that very comedown, but the refined songwriting chops and the delightfully grim synth melodies would make even that experience a highly enjoyable one.

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