Rusko - O.M.G.! - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Rusko - O.M.G.!

by Katie Butler Rating:7.5 Release Date:2010-06-07

After three years on the dubstep scene, this week sees the well overdue release of Rusko's debut album, O.M.G.! Since graduating from Leeds with a degree in Musical Performance, Rusko has been dabbling in all things dub; a keen interest in the dubstep and reggae sound-systems of Leeds soon led to a prompt move to London and a residency with fellow Dub King, Caspa, in London's prestigious Fabric nightclub.

Rooted in the UK garage scene, the overwhelming basslines of dubstep have only recently been lured out of the shadows and into the mainstream. With producers such as Caspa, Benga and Skream breaking onto the Radio 1 Playlists, UK dubstep is as strong and obscene as it's ever been with new waves of dub fans emerging left, right and centre. With such a variety of colourful dub acts at their peak, one might ask what separates Rusko from his fellow dubstep producers. The answer is simple: his vivacity and ability to create sounds never before demoed on the dub scene. He's a clear musical genius who has, reasonably successfully, begun to chisel away at the sinister seriousness of dubstep.

As expected, O.M.G.! is laced with some impressive bassline 'wobblers': the grimy 'Woo Boost', although demonstrating nothing that hasn't already been done, is a damn good piece of skank music with some truly devastating bass lines. 'I Love You' follows a similar pattern, the synthesisers are out in full force and the bass is just as reverberant, but it's more playful and rhythmically complex than the more typical tracks associated with the dub genre. Although coined as a dubstep album, O.M.G.! demonstrates Rusko's ability to manipulate and re-energise old-school dub. 'Hold On', infused with vocals of Dirty Projectors' Amber Coffman, is more break-beat garage, incorporating a beautiful melody with a warm, slick beat, the end product being an instant, radio-friendly summer tune. It has to be said however, that this is one of Rusko's more successful experimentations.

O.M.G.! certainly demonstrates Rusko's willingness to experiment with the rather over-produced dub tracks gracing the radio waves at present; however, certain tracks really let down the overall impressiveness of the album and it has to be said it could have done with some harsh but highly necessary editing. The lyrically limited and gimmicky 'Dial My Number' is both repetitive and rather amateur, sounding more like a Timbaland production than new wave dub. Likewise, 'Scareware' should have been sliced before recordings even began: it's a lyrical embarrassment, cringe-worthy and a rather brutal listen. 'Raver's Spesh' sounds like it could be mid-way through the recording process, the absence of a deep bassline is unfortunately hard to ignore, the end product being a track that sounds half finished.

Although O.M.G.! certainly consists of some lows, the highs make them easily forgettable. Rusko draws the album to a close with tracks illustrating not only his more-than-adequate style of musical production but also his ability to produce fresh, complex dubstep tracks laced with melodic beauty. 'Oy', co-produced with Italian duo, Crookers, is cheeky, fun and full of energy whilst 'District Line' is a true, heavy bassline 'wobbler' to bring the album to a close with.

Already highly influential on the dubstep scene, the release of O.M.G.! cements Rusko's status as a leader, not a follower. His ability to create entirely new and impressively original sounds, reiterates the reasons behind his success so far and although his debut album isn't entirely faultless, it's a clear sign of things to come from this true pioneer of new-wave dubstep.

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