After near world domination concerning the underground electronic music stratosphere, London duo Dusky have climbed their way to the peak of respectable music output both acrimonious and compelling. Their contemporary twist on melody based electronica and club music has earned them the respect of DJs such as Laurent Garnier, Maya Jane Coles and other sub-genre icons such as the dubstep lord Loefah and MC counterpart Chunky. Over the last five years, Dusky’s musical output has mostly hinged upon selective EP and single releases centred for their record bags and global festival sightings. 2016, however, sees the duo charmingly uncover their second full-length record titled Outer.
Nick Harriman and Alfie Granger-Howell have been at the top of the reputable list of producers who are just as good with DJ equipment as they are with synthesisers and drum machines. This ethic spills into their clear and righteous vibe focus. As their earlier output saw them in more of a respective hard techno and house focus, Outer showcases the pair’s ability to manoeuvre this experience inside the atmospheric futurist innovations that revolve around sensory dancefloor euphoria. At times there is a certain Underworld and Autechre meet Aphex Twin connection with some of the tracks on Outer, specifically the immense Ingrid Is a Hybrid. Deep rolling synth growls reminiscent of the ‘Tripod’ in War Of The Worlds take the lead before slamming vintage pads reach out to satin vocal echoes, as the words “Take Me Away” glint throughout the track’s nucleus. Then there’s the dark and dingy behaviour exploration inside the grime-ridden beastly number Sort It Out Sharon featuring UK MC veteran Wiley. A ghostly spacious synth reverb outlines the sharp punchy bass drum and distant hollowed vocal cries as Wiley rumbles through perky lyrics both iniquitous and brawny. This impression continues inside tracks like Long Wait which features Solomon Grey on vocal duties. Delayed synth echo and starkly sung components uplift the atmosphere both wholly and detailed – in tune with one another the whole way through its five minutes thirty duration. A Familiar 4×4 beat situates around the alien-like synth arpeggio in Songs Of Phase, whereas the unlikely pairing of the duo with new wave legend Gary Numan showcases a lively dimmed-down electro-ballad and Depeche Mode-esque twist with Swansea. Shifting away from a primary club-destined field, the most revealing and stunning song is unmistakably the contours explored within Marble. A beatless travel through galactic emotional ambience both touching and fascinating – signally the duo’s most heartfelt track to date.
Firmly, the record is a weaving shape of powerful senses that delve deeper with each listen. Whether this takes the shape of pulsing and intelligent techno or rhythmic mood lamentings and ambient gatherings, Dusky’s Outer is a landmark of stretched electronic dominance. The sound design alone is enough to warrant repeated attention if not for the sheer magnetism of emotion each track carries with it. Truly a wonderous collection of spatial divergence and sound possession.