Unknown UnknownSicko Cell / Knock Knock
SWAMP 81 (SWAMP014, 12”)
On the record sleeve no author is mentioned, but we know that the maker of “Sicko Cell” is Joy O. – a man who played Burial for half a year, hiding behind the comfortable screen of anonymity. When this track appeared on YouTube and other sites and in the bags of influential DJs, word started to spread about it as a potential hit and, over the course of a few months, we got this gem gem: intentionally dirty and intense post-dubstep (though shining with the almost house-like trademark Peter O’Grady sound). The dirtiness isn't so much in the texture of the sound but in its intensity, which is visceral at times. The vocals have been brought down a couple of octaves in order to get that menacing quality that became fashionable in minimal techno a few years back, and both the beat and atmospheric pads and the subterranean electro pattern, which adds a Drexciyan feel, seem to jump from the speaker in a perceptible 3D curve (and that’s without counting the lyrics, “I’m the information / cocaine powder / I’m so addicted”, comparing knowledge to a drug, hence the psychopath neuron in need of new input).
The B-side, “Knock Knock”, is equally crude in the way the snare resounds and in the ruggedness in which a funky-like beat in modified in real time, and also in the altered way the vocals reappear. It's not a smurf style voice, nor a brash diva one, but that of a deteriorated artificial intelligence accompanying the sound of malfunctioning machines on the verge of collapsing because of the heat, as if the cables were short-circuiting and the metal were about to melt. To say that this 12” is a revolution in latest generation dubstep would probably be overstating it, but its quality, punch and influence on a small scale cannot be denied. While the scene has seemed to calm down over the last few months, undeniably leading to boredom, “Sicko Cell” is like a violent awakening, a call to arms, once again.