Released: Oct 11 2010
Label: Columbia Records
Magnetic Man is the name of the project between renowned dubstep produers: Skream, Benga and Artwork. With all three members playing a huge part in the scene as individuals, by forming the first ever dubstep supergroup Magnetic Man have suggested that they’re serious about pushing dubstep out from the underground and into the light. As would be expected, the self-titled LP has been subject to plenty of hype, skepticism and mixed expectations.
Whether you’d prefer to call it variation or poor transcendence, it’s fair to highlight that the record doesn’t follow any set pattern. Opening with Flying Into Tokyo, the use of emotive strings suggests that the Magnetic Man debut album would be completely different to anything heard previously; however, when second track Fire follows, it leaves the opener seeming unnecessary and irrelevant. By placing a melodic instrumental piece before a hard-hitting track with coarse vocals, it can only be assumed that the three-piece aimed to make an impact through divergence – when in realitiy the track ordering just seems to jar unnaturally.
Earlier this year when the album was in its late stages, Benga labeled Magnetic Man a pop act. Between the interview and the album release, singles Perfect Stranger and I Need Air have been pop successes. Featuring the vocals of Angela Hunte, I Need Air reached #10 in the UK and got into the top thirty in both the Belgian and Danish music charts. The majority of tracks on the LP don’t cohere to the female vocal pattern, however, what makes the record more universal is its uplifting production. Purely instrumental tracks, Ping Pong and Anthemic break away from dubstep’s associated dark and menacing vibes by replacing them with trance-esque synths that overlay hard-hitting basslines. The concoction is unfamiliar and risky, yet impressively fluid.
As impressive as Magnetic Man is as an innovative full length, it isn’t flawless in meeting its intentions. Although each track attempts to be original, it seems that at times the most important production factor is overlooked – to be captivating. Box of Ghosts and Mad are experimental tracks that most obviously seem to meet this criticism, ironically generic despite attempts to create something, as the title of Skream’s recent solo LP suggests, Outside The Box. As a record, Magnetic Man is a collection of tracks that have changed and will no doubt influence the future of dubstep. The real impact of Magnetic Man will be seen in the near future – will dubstep continue to unfold as the future sound of dance music, or will it remain concealed and crawl back underground into its dark, grungy hole?
~ Article by James Murray
For Fans Of: Skream, Benga, Artwork, Rusko, Katy B, Flux Pavilion