Various Artists

Round Black Ghosts 2 (~Scape Records)

Various Artists, Round Black Ghosts 2 (~Scape Records)

Various Artists, Round Black Ghosts 2 (~Scape Records)

Various Artists, Round Black Ghosts 2 (~Scape Records)

Various Artists, Round Black Ghosts 2 (~Scape Records)

It’s no surprise that German sub-dub house music imprint ~Scape Records is owned/curated by Stefan Betke, the artist otherwise known as Pole. Betke (along with Jan Jelinek, the other big name in the ~Scape stable) took the ball from the mysterious Basic Channel crowd in the late 1990s, creating music that was no less opaque but introduced the tiniest remnants of human warmth and melody to the cold precision of their predecessors’ work. In other words, Betke pretty much defined the sound which would then be marketed somewhat more successfully by artists such as Burial and Kode 9 as dubstep.

So what we have with Round Black Ghosts is an all-star dubstep compilation that basically returns to the Pole sound of the late ’90s, adding four-to-the-floor beats but skipping vocals. The resulting mix of sounds is full of echoes and skeletal bass rumblings, delivering what would be excellent dance music for a zombie heroin party held in a pitch-black basement at least five stories beneath the earth’s surface. All of the compilation’s tracks share a similar sound, which gives the album a seamless quality. This music is scary and, at the same time, lulling. Great stuff for suicidal moods, meditations of quiet despondency, or, if you’re a sicko like me, a great soundtrack for those 10 cups of coffee that start your day—alone.

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