Rude Audio - That Dirty Echo
14 November 2011
A mix of individuals from Newcastle and London, Rude Audio is a South London-based collective emitting 90s techno and dub influences.
That Dirty Echo opens in cultured fashion on Now It’s Light with ambient synths and a cacophony of swimming effects providing a moody but enchanting opening, Sleep Delays My Life then opens the album proper with bass-driven acid techno.
The elusive Lufbra Vigil moves into reggae/dub climbs, merging one-paced rhythms with vocal effects. The production is bright and inventive; the music tightly programmed – but there is a repetitive element, and as I came to discover there are few surprises after the first few minutes of each track.
Having said that, Streatham Rising is one of the more experimental tracks, with heady dub rhythms parted by female vocals, which never erupt into full-flown lyrics, yet integrate well with the changeable head rush of subtle effects.
One effect of Rude Audio’s collective of vocalists, musicians, producers and engineers tends to be a sudden switch of style from one track to the next. Overall, the album remains dance-based, but lacks consistency or an overall theme, with fast-paced rhythm tracks placed next to techno bangers and slowed instrumentals in-between – it’s tempting to treat That Dirty Echo as a chocolate box of ideas for which only a few nuggets might make it onto the hard drive.
One of those nuggets might well be the resplendent Fever Scientist, with its ticking industrial rhythm driving through a roadmap of seedy effects and haunting female vocals. Despite the track meandering aimlessly, like many do here, it’s a dreamy and effective slab of trip-hop regardless.
My main problem with Rude
Audio is that nobody seems to take ownership of the record. It’s
well-made and well-produced but the mix of styles and no-doubt numerous
individuals implementing them means that ideas struggle to really ignite
and flourish. However, that’s not to say the album does not have
its merits – particularly for those into modern dub.