When I first heard Tunnidge – one of the dubstep sound’s founding fathers – was gearing up to release his debut LP, two thoughts struck me. Firstly, I was surprised we hadn’t seen an album from Tim sooner. But, as the saying goes, all good things come to those who wait. Secondly, were we going to see another bassweight-focused long player from the DEEP MEDi family?
While we’ve seen an astounding number of seriously solid digital and vinyl releases from artists across the dubstep spectrum over the last year or so, there’s been a lack of decent albums. There are the obvious exceptions like the collaborative efforts on Volume 1, LX One’s Motions, Enigma Dubz’s FTV002 and of course Nomine‘s truly stellar Inside Nomine (and we have high hopes for the recently announced Epoch debut on Blacklist). Yes, we’ve had one or two pretty solid compilations – but there’s nothing quite like a solo album effort that lets an artist really get their teeth into showing us both who and where they are in both mentality and career.
When Tim’s debut landed in my inbox, I noticed two things. As a producer who’s released with a number of labels since his mammoth debut on MEDi-08 back in 2008, I was intrigued to see the album on a new imprint. But not just a new label for Tunnidge’s material – this appears to be the first ever release on Shining Tyger. As far as debuts go, you can’t do much better than announcing yourselves with Tunnidge’s long-awaited inaugural long player.
The second thing I noticed with Mobius Strip‘s zip file is that the album’s a continuous player. And, given its title, that made sense…
“The Möbius strip or Möbius band is a surface with only one side and only one boundary. The Möbius strip has the mathematical property of being non-orientable. It can be realised as a ruled surface.”
Mobius Strip unfurls itself over 49 hugely enjoyable minutes, with its 10 tracks recording Tunnidge’s latest musical endeavours.
Tim’s always been a hugely creative producer (not to mention amazing artist) across a number of genres and BPMs – and Mobius Strip highlights that fact. It’s a meandering yet purposeful journey across 140-160bpm, splicing ambient soundscapes and nightmarish vocals into its psychedelic flow to create a soundtrack of today that wouldn’t be out of place in a science fiction thriller or horror movie – or both. It’s the sound of the UK in 2016, documenting a range of influences and inspirations in a rolling, repeating vision of greatness.
“We knew the world would not be the same. A few people laughed, a few people cried, most people were silent.
“I remembered the line from the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad-Gita. Vishnu is trying to persuade the Prince that he should do his duty and to impress him takes on his multi-armed form and says, “Now, I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.”
“I suppose we all thought that one way or another.”
To pick out individual tracks from the continuous player would do Tunnidge’s vision for STY001 a disservice; this material is meant to be played in one go. I’ve been listening to it on repeat for the last few days and, perhaps as to be expected, I’ve uncovered new delights with every new listen. You need to take the time to sit back and let the album crash over you to really get its full impact. The journey rolls through delightfully uncomfortable ambiance with My Family, stripped back stepper territory with Shaman, crashing breaks and jungle nods with Hold Tight, near-techno psychosis with Eyes of Fear, half-time pleasures with Amygadala and the signature Tunnidge sounds of Stone Circle.
However, if you’re so inclined, Unearthed have individual track previews up on the site so – check them out here.
As far as debut albums go – from both producer and record label – this is up there as a personal favourite. For a Tunnidge fan, a dubstep fan – or a fan of the wider UK-based soundscape – this is a required purchase. It may not match the standalone dancefloor power of the individual releases found in Tim’s back catalogue, but it’s something bigger; more powerful and more personal. It’s a superb, introspective body of work that documents one of the finest (and most long-standing) musicians we have at the lower end of the bass music spectrum these days. Unlike other compatriots from the early Croydon days who’ve moved on to bigger things, Tim’s stuck to his roots while advancing his sound – creating something that’s old and new at the same time.
Mobius Strip will be on repeat for the foreseeable future. Buy it today and find out why.
- Golden Bough
- Hold Tight
- Eyes of Fear
- One World
- Stone Circle
- My Family
Peace, love and respect.