Thursday 2 May 2013

Benga - Chapter II

Benga is best known for his work with Magnetic Man and their 2010 dubstep anthem I Breathe Air.  It was a track that helped to bring the genre to the mainstream, but since then things have changed.  'Chapter II' is the London producer's second full LP - an LP that lacks the soul of Rudimental, the humour and invention of Skrillex, or the cinematic vision of Nero.

Instead, Benga delivers a series of cold, unemotional bleeps and beats.  As a pioneer of the genre, his is a back-to-basics approach that distills dubstep to its fundamental ingredients.  Technically proficient it might be, but 'Chapter II' is utterly soulless.  There's even a track entitled There's No Soul, whilst Click and Tap does exactly that - clicks and taps for three minutes.  Endless throbbing synths and bass wobbles have been chewed up and spat out through computer programming, with the results being almost devoid of melody.  One exception is Choose 1, whose melody is (subconsciously) taken from Madonna's Bond theme Die Another Day.  Not the best point of reference.

It falls to the various guest vocalists to provide some human emotion and personality.  Forefather with rapper Kano is the lead single, but with lyrics that reference Jessie J, new beamers and his mum's house, Kano's rap is on a par with Tinie Tempah.  Elsewhere we're left with empty delivery and dull lyrics of sex, drugs and dancing (as on Higher - "higher, higher, take me all the way").

The tracks of 'Chapter II' will undoubtedly do their duty of entertaining clubs across the country over the summer months.  But beyond that, this latest album from Benga is a dubstep too far.


Gizzle's Choice:
* Smile
* I Will Never Change
* Choose 1

Listen: 'Chapter II' is released on May 6th.