Canadian dubstep duo Zeds Dead played a noticeably well-attended and rapturously received show at Revolution a couple of weeks ago. It was part of an epic 70 date tour of North America to support their new release The Living Dead EP on Ultra Music. The production team of DC and Hooks first came to public attention a couple of years ago, following the word-of-mouth buzz generated by their first official single, the Diplo-endorsed track "Rude Boy." Constructed around a deep stuttering bass drop and natural hip-hop swagger, it's the sort of highly recognizable live track that has become a staple at EDM events around the country.
They have gone on to release notable tracks on Mad Decent, Dim Mak, San
City High, and Basshead, while steadily developing their profile with continual touring. If nothing else, the Revolution show
illustrated they have reached a certain level of live popularity. And
while not quite yet within the same profile strata of dubstep
big-hitters such as Skrillex, Borgore, or Flux Pavilion, with
appearances at Lollapalooza, Shambhala, and Electric Zoo this summer one
senses that 2012 seems destined by be a watershed year for the duo.
The four-track EP features the vocal contribution of frequent
collaborator Omar LinX. The Toronto-based rapper now
tours with the duo and this release seems to cement his intrinsic role
within Zeds Dead. Opening track "Crank" illustrates immediately the
sense of genuine personality he brings to the music, opening with the immortal lines,
"I feel like King Kong, snorting cocaine, can't fuck with me, this is
foreplay..." Within the studio driven world of EDM, his distinctive
idiosyncrasies seem both rare and refreshing and provide an ideal foil
for the high-pitched synth bass drops that dominate the track.
"Take A Chance" further extends this with his prominently featured rhymes.The somewhat hip-hop track starts hypnotically with LinX's verses tightly
ingrained within the tech-infused rhythm. It's an intensely focused cut,
constructed around dark atmospherics and building into glazed twisted
psychedelic synth drops that are reminiscent of British purple dubstep
pioneer Joker. The EP title-track follows. It feels far more
structurally defined. The track moves between a bass heavy
electro-house workout, intense deep house, and moody hip-hop rhymes
within distinct sections.
Finally, "Cowboy" opens with bucolic strummed guitars and Omar LinX's
most melodic rhymes yet. The rootsy vibe feels like a complete
departure, until a subtle electro rise reaches the familiar epic
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sounding bass drops. Integrating intense bass, rock-tinged harmonies, and
hip-hop verse feels somewhat new and it's the sense of production
expertise and control that ensures it all coalesces. This is very
much how the release and perhaps Zeds Dead themselves feel as an
artistic entity -- it may only be just over 18 minutes of music, but such
is the composed sonic mastery and dedicated efficiency, it rarely feels
like there's a second wasted.
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