One of the most interesting trends in dance music to emerge in the past three years is this sound we at BnB often refer to as singer-songwriter styled house and techno: thick, shoegazian synth layers, druggy vocals and otherworldly, often slow-paced textures along the lines of Telefon Tel Aviv, Walls and Apparat. It is in this sector that Cubenx (César Urbina) has been operating for quite a few years, with the result being a slew of brilliant records.
Over the past few years, Cubenx has slightly moved away from the dancefloor, only to emerge with a new sound that’s more rooted in songwriting, including the ‘real’ instruments and voices. However, his new album On Your Own Again does retain some of that club flavor from back in the day, while at the same time having become an outstanding exercise in crafting in fashion, genre-bending compostions. It matches perfectly to the sound of Agoria’s InFiné label, which over the years has become a respectable source to find cutting egde music by self-wise artists who don’t care about traditional genre limitations.
On Your Own Again is quite possibly Cubenx most diverse work to date. The album opens with the elegant Locked, a downtempo, broken beat-touched mix of dense synthesizers, deep bass and shimmering percussion bits, after which These Days dives straight into the very depths of super-trippy electronica on which dreamy vocals, subtle keys and semi-epic synths guarantee a futuristic mash of sounds. The tempo is increased on more dancefloor-tinged cuts such as Adrift At Sea and Lovebirds, the latter being an ecstatic nod to underground dancefloors soaked with the sweat of people dancing to this progressive/deep house-orientated groove.
Cubenx “Wait & See EP” by InFiné Music
Between all these moments of bliss, one track stands out due to its magical vibe: Wait & See. Starting off as an exciting clash of deep house grooves and acid bits, the tune eventually turns into a wonderful tour-de-force rigged with countless brilliant moves and a highly emotive atmosphere. As the album proceeds, Cubenx keeps on switching from slo-mo tracks to more uptempo stuff, while always retaining a sense of emotion and a touch of psychedelica. It makes On Your Own Again a unique kaleidoscopic affair that you’ll find yourself playing over and over again.
Our verdict: What more can we say than what we already mentioned above? Cubenx latest album has become a major step forward into the realms where dance music and singer-songwriter compositions walk hand in hand. Diversity, creativity and very noticeable hints towards serious production skills have made this one of the hottest albums of this moment, and probably many more months to come.
Rating: 9.3/10 Label: InFiné Release date: November 2011
Tracklist: 1. Locked 2. These Days 3. Adrift at Sea 4. Lovebirds 5. Grass 6. Noir 7. Sun Dried 8. Sierra Madre 9. Wait & See 10. Mist Over the Lake 11. Sueña con Venados