Witchman

Inferno

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The two protagonists engaged in INFERNO's unlikely English/German soundclash share a propensity for toying with convention. Jammin Unit's (Cem Oral) spry electronica is poised on the dub tip, but his sleek digital lines overwhelm such earmarks of classic Jamaican production as analog warmth, sprinting basslines, and echo-chamber overdose. John Roome's Witchman tag has graced some of the darkest, most exhilarating drum n' bass ever consigned to wax, but there's little evidence of his usual breakbeat ballistics here.

With INFERNO, Roome and Oral find common ground in the rhythm and bass matrices common to hiphop and dub. The crisp "Ice Is Blue" and "Dark Roots" recall The RZA's bombed-out Bernard Herrmann-esque Wu-Tang Clan productions. The duo's interpretation of hip-hop remains true to form, however, incorporating enough dub-derived anomalies to bend its definition as such to the breaking point. A frosting of brittle electronics lightens the trampling beats of "Filter Voodoo" and "Sub-Urban Pt. 1." "After Midnight" rides a helical bassline roughshod over bumpy breaks. And the sparkling techno of "Blind Television" (from Jammin Unit's 1997 album, DEAF, DUB, AND BLIND) receives a digidub infusion in Roome's amazing "Cathode Ray Dub."

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