Dubstep royalty Mala, with worldwide explorer Gilles Peterson as his travelling buddy, aims to turn the hip gyrations of the Caribbean into a London-hardened party. Can Havana handle having giant basslines and screwface scaffolding upon it?
The postcard details how quickly day can turn into night, making the sightseeing a sobering experience. “Mulata”’s visit to an ancient temple rouses the wall-adorned gargoyles, “Revolution” and “Ghost” break from the touring party to go sleuthing into the unknown, while the filmgoer in you screams at them to watch their step. Bass is never extravagant but always lets you know that it’s not sunning itself with its feet up, and the pace is rarely ponderous. It can sound ice-cold, but always reflects a brisk lifestyle twined with tension, with “Cuba Electronic” extending the show of thrills to be had from the fearful.
As if pining for London, “The Tunnel” goes for home comforts with a B-line monster, and it’s not until “The Tourist” that you feel Mala is totally trying local cuisine. Bringing a piano into dubstep is like what the ivories did for house music with Marshall Jefferson: skeptics might argue he didn’t have to go all the way around the world just to add keys and bongos to everything, but the live sense of community, with Mala drawing from and giving back to the locale, means his Cuban travails are exclusively accomplished.
File under: Digital Mystikz, Benga, Silkie