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on 11 July 2011
I'm a self-confessed Zomby addict. Ever since his debut album 'Where Were U In '92?' blasted out of my speakers in 2008, i've been hooked. 'Where Were U In '92?' was a tongue-in-cheek homage to the rave era<!--more-->, a mishmash of breakbeats, trance and junglist brilliance that should never have worked but was so innocent and so much fun that you couldn't help but love it.

Zomby's music is quite hard to define, its steeped in memories, creating complex but minimal layers of melodies, a technicolour abstraction of everything that has happened in dance music in the last 25 years.

'Dedication' was recorded in tribute "to someone much loved and missed", the sense of loss is immediate on the sombre gunshot-ridden opener `Witch Hunt', and the heartbreaking `Natalia's Song'. Reminiscent of Burial, 'Natalia's Song' uses a cut-up vocal of Irina Dubtzova over a melancholy mix of looped synth, hi-hats and minor-key piano.

Zomby continues to borrow from and build on the sounds of eskibeat, dubstep, grime, house, garage, techno, trance, ambient music and all sorts of Nintendo beats that only Zomby seems to know how to use so well. 'Alothea' is a minimal deep house track that mixes effortlessly into classic Zomby 8-bit chiptune brilliance with 'Black Orchid', if ever anyone was destined to work for Nintendo it's this man.

It can be quite disorientating to listen to Zomby's music because there are few track separations, apparent in tracks like 'Riding with death' which feel as if they were part of the song before but aren't. Regardless of tempo or mood, the changes are so fluid, it's an unusual way to mix tracks. The dreamy vocals of Panda Bear (of Animal Collective) appear and work well on 'Things fall apart'.

Zomby's fickle nature can often frustrate, you are just itching for some songs like 'Lucifer' and 'Salamander' to last much longer than the 60 seconds he's given you. 'Vanquish' is probably the best example, you are waiting for something to kickstart what sounds like an intro but it never happens. But any frustrations are absorbed into the next track 'A devil lay here', probably his most measured track, an incredibly subtle shower of bleeps undercut with horns.

The piano is played a lot on this album, and becomes even more evident near the end of the album. 'Florence' has a delicate piano melody with scattering breakbeats, leading into the aptly named 'Haunted' and the biggest surprise is 'Basquiat' which is an emotional solo piano piece. I certainly wasn't expecting this, underlining the whole shift in tone on this album, in stark contrast to his debut. Just as you think its all over, the album ends with some sublime Zomby on 'Mozaik', and he has the last laugh, stopping the track when you least expected!

The big difference between Zomby and many of his peers is the emotional quality in his music, which probably only Burial has bettered. Zomby takes all the elements of the dancefloor and produces music you can listen to, 'Where Were U In '92?' was all about the pure innocent joy of life, 'Dedication' is a complete u-turn into the darker corners of your mind. There is a sad sense of loss, regret and remembrance throughout 'Dedication', epitomised by 'Natalia's Song' which is one of the tracks of 2011. You have to admire Zomby for being so daring, as this is certainly not the album anyone was expecting and all the better for it.
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Mr Zomby seems to be onto something here. Something good.
'Dedication' is a tad difficult to pin down stylistically
and is frankly all-the-better for it. Ambiguous grooves.

There are sixteen tracks in the collection. Nothing lasts
terribly long (only 3 come in at over three minutes and
another three are less than a minute each) but despite the
brevity of many of the inventions there is real magic here.

The beats are light, mercurial and funky in a twitchy kind
of way; the melodic material is simple but strangely affecting;
the sparsely used vocals elusive and fragmented.

'Natalia's Song', the most substantial of the bunch, is a
charming creation. The breathy cut-and-paste female vocal
creates a rhythm of its own within the fidgety synth and
percussion framework. It gets under your skin and makes
your fingers and toes tap along in time like a heartbeat.
'Alothea', too, works a potent watery spell from the inside out.

'Things Fall Apart', as befits its title, is a nervous, skittery,
staccato composition. The vocal part floats above it in a simple
(quasi-medieval plainchant) two and three-part harmony.

The Afro/Latin beats of the miniature 'Salamander' creates a
perfect little dance which comes and goes in the blink of an eye.

'A Devil Lay Here' bumps and broods along in an almost reptilian
manner. The music's almost cinematic quality would sound perfectly at
home as a theme tune for a TV documentary about our cold-blooded cousins.

Final track 'Mozaik' is a wonderfully wobbly playful conclusion.

Mr Zomby is an artist of gentle vision.

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on 16 December 2012
This is the first album I have purchased of Zomby's and it's really good.

The album contains many tracks that are mostly short in length. This allows Zomby to present lots of musical ideas although sometimes these ideas feel unexplored and incomplete.

The production has a late 90s feel, a sort of minimal techno-esque electronica, which is very refreshing after the deluge of dubstep we have all been subject to.

The cinematic feel of the music, coupled with its darkness (both in choices of title and harmonic structure) make this a great album to listen to alone at night. It exposes something extra in the moment that gives still thoughts a voice.

Good work Zomby, you have my digital thumbs up.
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on 27 November 2011
wow, who would have ever thought that the undead could sound so alive? certainly not me. After watching the walking dead and several films like it in the 80's on my friend Pauls brand new Fergason Video Star I would never imagined that they could even operate a lift let along the complicated buttons on an Apple Macintosh. Simply stunning.
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on 17 August 2011
Score: 7/10

I've been listening to this album a lot in recent weeks, lived with it you could say. I have to say that this album starts off very well and for the first 5 tracks it's right up there with Zomby's best output to date, but then 'Vortex' starts and the whole vibe changes and the energy ebbs away and it never gets it back. It actually becomes a little annoying in places, or just a bit dull, or even depressing (maybe it's supposed to be a bit depressing?). 'Things fall apart' and 'Mozaik' are pretty good, and 'A devil lay here' is ok, but the rest is quite insubstantial and doesn't really hang together or inspire. Is 'Witch hunt', 'Natalia's song', 'Alothea', 'Black orchid', 'Riding with death' and the 3 tracks mentioned above enough for you to part with your cash? I'll let you decide. Personally speaking it wasn't quite enough to make my 'albums worth owning' list.
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on 26 July 2011
I am also a big Zomby fan and completely agree with the comments above. Despite waiting for this album for a while I would have to say I was disappointed with the result. Allthough the tracks are melodically very strong they are just too short. So many of them just seem like snippets of a main groove which quickly builds up and then fades out or stops. Does Zomby think that this is enough to satisfy his listeners? Personally I think he needs to invest more time in proper intros and endings rather than just 'tasters' of interesting rhythms.
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on 30 June 2015
A serious album
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