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3.7 out of 5 stars
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3.7 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 7 April 2008
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Artists generally hate having their work buttonholed into media invented genres. Portishead hated the term "trip-hop" for the ground-breaking debut Dummy. So hear comes Benga, music press appointed flag -bearer for what is being referred to as "Dub-step." Call it what you like - it's brilliant.
The beats sound as clear as a whistle - structured and methodical, German sounding in precision and execution. But there is variety - like the soft intro on B4 the duel. Devastating rapier-like drums and crunchy base come in behind. It all adds up to a very interesting listen. Yes it's urban - tracks like Night and 26 basslines were made for the dance floor, but this record isn't at all cavalier. It wanders off in places you never expected to go - Someone 20 drifts you off into space, down a tunnel, marrying you into a celestial sound-scape. The effects across the record are so clever and original - is that a hand-clap on Crunked UP? Another favourite of mine is the neurotic, skipping beat of Emotions.
Should bring "Dub Step" out of the underground and to the masses.
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Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Like many people of my age, I've always tended to associate this style of music with the sound that you hear from the open window of a badly customised Peugot 206 being driven by some slack-jawed yokel in a baseball cap round a suburban town centre: It wasn't until the Burial album of last year that I started to take a deeper interest in it.

Whilst my dancing days are long past, I can appreciate a good album when I hear one. 'Diary' immaculately crafted and executed, with precision dancebeats textured with squelchy early 90s rave synth, spoken word and brass samples. It sounds especially good in a car at night. It doesn't have the crossover appeal of the Burial album - lacking that album's air of early morning melancholy that made it appeal to elderly punters like myself - but any real music lover will find this a rewarding listen.
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on 3 October 2008
love this album. have it on repeat loads. zero m2, the first track is amazing a stand out for me. buy this if you love dubstep/bass its gotta be a must have
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VINE VOICEon 4 April 2008
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is the first I've heard of the genre they call 'dubstep.' I really had no idea what to expect. This album mixes the slower, Moving Shadow style of drum and bass, the Miami/Baltimore bass scene, and minimalist techno such as Plastikman/Richie Hawtin, into a new, yet not entirely unfamiliar, style.

At low volume, this disc is really quite ambient. At higher volumes, it's eminently danceable. Benga is an extremely talented producer, making the music appear skeletal on first listen, yet revealing hidden details on repeat.

The tempo remains around 140bpm the whole way through (the rate of the human heartbeat) and makes the music both exhilarating and relaxing simultaneously, as it remains in sync with your body as you listen.

An excellent album which sounds great at high volume in a car, and also makes a good background to work to. Highly recommended.
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on 5 April 2008
Please - people who are listening to dubstep for the first time should not be allowed to rate this, it is and never has been a genre of music that people can walk into and appreciate for the first time. It requires listening to various albums and then going to a night (preferably Exodus in Leeds) to experience the vibe and atmosphere that surrounds the people that genuinely love this music.

This album is genius, the production and musical soul and depth of the tracks is unique, and the talent behind this is unquestionable.

As a true music lover I download all my music, though this one I felt deserved a buy - and I would be happy to pay the £10 every-time if I was guaranteed something this good...
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on 22 November 2011
Few years ago i was sitting round a mates house when he started busting this out of the blue........instantly i liked it even though i hadn't really heard of dubstep that much.
So brought the album and it became one of my favorite of all time......once i'd rinsed it to death i began the search for more dubstep but in my mind nearly everyone elses version of dubstep seemed to be brainless tack for teenagers. Loads of danny dyer dialogue in the back ground and other rubbish ideas.............3 years later and dubsteps really starting to dominate the charts but not one of these so called producers has got the subtlety or class that benga has. Ok there's been a few stand out songs and i like skreams 1st album but thats about it.........if your only real experience of dubstep happens to be what your hearing in the charts at the moment dont let that put you off coz trust me this guy makes them look like the amateur producers they really are.
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on 13 March 2008
I'm an average raver; always on the lookout for something new and motivating. Been to a few Dubstep events, and yes, I was taken in by the spell the bass casts as you walk in through the door (sometimes garage door if you like the squat/underground rave) and yes, I eventually learnt how to skank. ;-)

All I needed now was to be able to skank at home, I waited and waited, hit dubstep forum every day for the latest rumour of an early release.

And finally........(like spurs winning a trophy)

My anticipation was over, Benga has returned, the electro wizard delivers 14 tracks of menacing bass, synths and drums. People classify Benga as Dubstep; in my opinion he offers more than Dubstep, he offers Bengaism (when you cant classify something just ism it). Each track is laced full of mesmorising bass, intense drum patterns and soulful melodys. This album would have even the most sophisticated ravers skanking!!

My conclusion: Album for all.

My only criticism is Benga deciding 14 tracks were enough for the masses, scrooge or my greed, you decide?

Enjoy!!
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on 12 October 2009
I came to this album with little interest, or exposure to Dubstep, although I knew the sound. This sounds a bit more raw than what I was expecting - as some have pointed out, good material to be mixed at a club. But I find this good music for home actually - it's minimal and interesting, but not much melody. Suits me perfect when I want to chill - but not be sent to sleep. I dislike 'chill out music' in general, so I'm weary of associating it with that. I just mean it's not going to dominate your ears with a catchy melody. This album is about the good beats. It's got nice sparse production though you definitely need to have a volume up and a good stereo to really appreciate that. And at times I wanted more oomph.

I like the album as a whole, as opposed to the individual tracks - the notable exception being 'Pleasure' which is a CHOOOON! I get why a person might see it as a bit dull, or samey. I think that's something to be overcome through further listening. And of course, maybe it's not everyone's cup of tea. As I say, I'm not a massive dubstep fan, nor do I need Dub to breathe. I'm not an expert in this genre at all - but I like pretty much all styles of music where quality is evident. This is a good album in my book. It doesn't rock my world though.
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VINE VOICEon 28 March 2008
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I'm quite a big fan of electronic music and dub, but 2-step is not something I can shake hands with, so dubstep seems a good half way point.

The Dizzee Rascal comparison is somewhat correct in that there are some nice dark bits of music, however without lyrics - this is all instrumental - it seems like something is missing as the music is rather simplistic and repetitive to hold your attention, and often most of the music is inoffensive (the best tracks are the first and last). I find it probably would be more suited to a club than being enjoyed by yourself on an mp3 player (I fell asleep listening to it, sorry!) or your living room.

That aside, the sound quality is good and the packaging is very nice. Benga is still a very young artist and I'm sure there's more potential yet to be untapped. For the moment his debut is more interesting for the style of music than an essential listen in itself.
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VINE VOICEon 18 April 2008
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I am not a great fan of dubstep, but occassionally you get artists who climb above the limitations of their genre to take their sound to a wider audience like Roni Size for drum and bass, Benga is such an artist.

The opening track on Diary of an Afro Warrior Zero M2 sounds feels like AIR doing a detroit-style techno track and others reminded me of artist such as Sabres of Paradise, Autchre, LFO and Juan Atkins. In common with most electronic albums it doesn't have a unifying concept, but somehow all the tracks work together with some dark but yet not sinister vibes.

I am not going to say that this is the best album in the world ever, but I am glad I left my musical prejudices and pressed play.
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