Thursday, September 30, 2010

Review: Magnetic Man - Magnetic Man (Album)

Review: Magnetic Man Magnetic Man 2010
Dubstep / Electronic

1. Flying Into Tokyo
2. Fire (Feat. Ms. Dynamite)
3. I Need Air (Feat. Angela Hunte)
4. Anthemic
5. The Bug
6. Ping Pong
7. Perfect Stranger (Feat. Katy B)
8. Mad
9. Boiling Water (Feat. Sam Frank)
10. K Dance 
11. Crossover (Feat. Katy B)
12. Box Of Ghosts
13. Karma Crazy
14. Getting Nowhere (Feat. John Legend)


Magnetic Man, both the group and the album, is a big deal for dubstep. The genre's first "supergroup," the project consists of Skream, Benga, and Artwork, long-time friends since meeting at Croydon's historic Big Apple Records. Skream and Benga are two of dubstep's biggest and most prolific producers, responsible for many genre defining tunes such as Skream's "Midnight Request Line" and Benga and Coki's "Night." The Magnetic Man album contains the first dubstep-rooted single to crack the UK Top 10 ("I Need Air"), and "Perfect Stranger" looks poised to do it again. By all means, the release of Magnetic Man will mark a change in the genre. It will introduce dubstep to the masses, it will spur a league of copycats, and it will certainly split the already-divided followers of the genre. 

If you're not here as a dubstep devotee and wonder why I keep posting about it, listen to this album. If you have any interest in electronic music at all, it may end up being the best thing you've heard all year. I personally know a few listeners who were converted after Skream and Benga played at Nocturnal last weekend, stealing the show from the other, more mundane acts.

Unfortunately, I feel that the album will leave the rest of us slightly disappointed. Granted, some of the tracks are the best I've heard all year, including "Perfect Stranger" and "I Need Air." The problem, though, is that I have been listening to them all year. And having eagerly awaited the rest of the album for so long, what we're left with pales in comparison. "Flying Into Tokyo" starts the album off with a weird Yann Tiersen-esque vibe, which is fine but unnecessary, and "The Bug" is just pointless. "Anthemic," with its heavy, melodic vibe, is probably my favorite of the new instrumental tracks. "Crossover," while far from a bad tune, unfortunately doesn't hold a candle to its Benga-produced counterpart, "Katy On A Mission."

I like the album, but given that half of it was previewed before hand, I already knew I would. I only wish Magnetic Man would have pushed the envelope a little more, and I know they have the talent to do so. They've already begun to direct the course of dubstep, certainly in a more melodic and radio-friendly direction (see: Caspa's "Love Never Dies"). They could have also taken things to the other extreme by producing more interesting and heavy-hitting tracks to balance things out, but it seems they've chosen to play it safe. This may very well be the album of the year, but I'm confident it could have been better.

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