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Album Review
Zomby - With Love Album Cover

Zomby - With Love

Reviewed by
8.3
ZombyWith Love
Release Date: June 17, 2013
Record Label: 4AD
This review was written by an AP.net staff member.
Very little is known about Zomby, an electronic music producer from the UK. The man rarely gives interviews, rarely takes photos without something covering his face, and even though he's been releasing music under the name Zomby since 2008, nobody knows his real name. Despite this, after releasing a couple of albums and a good amount of EP's, Zomby broke out with his last full length, Dedication, due in part to getting signed to indie juggernaut 4AD. It was also due in part to his unique take on the rave scene, taking everything from garage, dubstep, jungle, hip-hop, and grime and blending it into a dark, atmospheric and often times chilling style. Zomby has stayed along these same lines for his latest album, With Love, but this time he has upped the ante with a sprawling 33 track double album that pulls the listener into his mysterious world.

While it may seem like 33 tracks is a lot to get through, With Love ends up being a much easier listen than one might expect. For one, the two records are clearly divided with purpose, with the first record being more straight forward and dance oriented and the latter record leaving much more space allowing for the ambience completely engulf the tracks. The two come together to form the entirety of With Love, and taking it all in during one sitting is extremely rewarding, though not necessary to fully comprehend and enjoy the album.

Still, there are a lot of reasons that you would want to get the bigger picture as opposed to taking in the albums separately, and some of these reasons could come across as criticisms of the album and of Zomby's style as a whole. Zomby, while a mysterious figure, doesn't hold back much when it comes to his twitter and the few interviews he's done, and he's made it clear that he thinks dance music isn't as tough as it once was. This results in songs that don't tend to beat around the bush, and build ups and come downs come few and far between. Instead, his songs get straight to the point, often times opening up with a single loop that stays consistent as subtle things are added and subtracted throughout pretty short track times. On a track-by-track basis, things may come across as incomplete and it can get frustrating (the fade out of “Digital Smoke” into “Entropy Sketch” comes to mind), but when the bigger picture is taken into account, each of these tracks, no matter how short or how long, contribute perfectly to the mood of the project as a whole.

On album one, you'll find many tracks that are dance floor ready, though they're more eerie and ambient than your typical club bangers. Tracks like “Ascension,” “It's Time,” and the gritty, industrial “777” are all begging you to get up and move, and by “This One” it shouldn't be too hard to pull yourself to do so. But once With Love hits the second album, things seem to open up a bit with the soft ambiance of “Black Rose.” What follows is a flurry of tracks that trade in the fast drums of garage and jungle for booming 808's and fluttering hi-hats that call to the popular style of trap-infused dance music. Zomby strays away from most conventions of trap in his melodies, though, by creating an atmosphere and avoiding your typical build-up-and-drop formula that you see so often in the genre. Even though the drums are towering and forceful, Zomby leaves enough room to pull the listener into the space through his ambient synth strikes and piano lines that are soaked in reverb.

With Love is the most focused and refined release from Zomby yet, which is quite the feat considering it's a double album. It's not often you see such a concise effort in such a long project, but Zomby pulls it off exceedingly well. I would argue that there isn't a single track of filler here, even though some of the shorter tracks feel like they could have easily been tacked onto the ends of some of the longer tracks. Still, the mistakes made in the individual tracks do little to detract from With Love as a whole, and the man of mystery has proven once again why his music has gained such traction without so much as a name or a face behind it.

8.25/10
 
Displaying posts 1 - 11 of 11
12:52 AM on 07/08/13
#2
red8ge
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you fucking melon
10:12 AM on 07/08/13
#3
Jake Jenkins
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the meloniest of them all
11:08 AM on 07/08/13
#4
Archael
listens to good music
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there's another album called With Love that came out this year.it's really short, you guys would probably dig it: http://luxuryelite.bandcamp.com/album/with-love

it's one of my favorites from this year.
11:20 AM on 07/08/13
#5
Archael
listens to good music
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also, has any of the staff heard Autechre or Boards of Canada? it's great to see more electronic covered on this site.
11:25 AM on 07/08/13
#6
Jake Jenkins
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also, has any of the staff heard Autechre or Boards of Canada? it's great to see more electronic covered on this site.
never heard of autechre but im pretty sure someone (maybe chris collum) was supposed to do the new baords of canada.


im hoping to do more electronic reviews in the future since, next to hip-hop, its probably the style of music i listen to the most.
11:36 AM on 07/08/13
#7
Archael
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never heard of autechre but im pretty sure someone (maybe chris collum) was supposed to do the new baords of canada.


im hoping to do more electronic reviews in the future since, next to hip-hop, its probably the style of music i listen to the most.
that reminds me, I don't even know how people write electronic reviews. that's why I could never do that. same goes with hip-hop. I can't review those things if I tried, which sucks because I really like hip-hop and some electronic.

the only things I could write about is punk and pop punk, but I generally don't like punk and pop punk that much at all anymore...

but yeah, check out autechre, they're one of the most highly regarded electronic artists I know.
07:11 AM on 07/10/13
#8
Ryan Dennehy
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never heard of autechre but im pretty sure someone (maybe chris collum) was supposed to do the new baords of canada.


im hoping to do more electronic reviews in the future since, next to hip-hop, its probably the style of music i listen to the most.
you would love autechre, at least their stuff from the 90s/early 00s stuff. its real good
12:23 PM on 07/19/13
#9
theintention
It's like Meow-Schwitz in here.
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never heard of autechre but im pretty sure someone (maybe chris collum) was supposed to do the new baords of canada.


im hoping to do more electronic reviews in the future since, next to hip-hop, its probably the style of music i listen to the most.
Who are your top producers right now? I'd be interested in more electronic music being covered here.
10:48 AM on 08/03/13
Jake Jenkins
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Who are your top producers right now? I'd be interested in more electronic music being covered here.
Totally missed this comment. Right now, my favorites would have to be Nicolas Jaar, Ryan Hemsworth, Lunice, Hudson Mohawke, James Blake, Rustie, Evian Christ, Holy Other, Tim Hecker etc. There are a ton more but those are off the top of my head
09:11 PM on 08/03/13
theintention
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Totally missed this comment. Right now, my favorites would have to be Nicolas Jaar, Ryan Hemsworth, Lunice, Hudson Mohawke, James Blake, Rustie, Evian Christ, Holy Other, Tim Hecker etc. There are a ton more but those are off the top of my head

Mmmm Hud Mo can do night wrong. Same Ryan Hemsworth.

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