Diary of An Afro Warrior
Benga - Diary Of An Afro Warrior
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Diary Of An Afro Warrior

Diary Of An Afro Warrior is the second full-length release from Benga, a UK-based artist who is along with Burial probably one of the fastest-rising names in dubstep. His Night 12" was apparently the first of its genre to be played on BBC Radio 1, and his style is both varied and at times quite accessible. He's had work on a variety of compilations, including the recent Mary Anne Hobbs' Warrior Dubz last year, but his craft has obviously grown even since that time.

As mentioned above, his work is fairly varied, but not so much that the release doesn't sound cohesive. Over the course of fourteen tracks that run almost exactly an hour, he dabbles with all kinds of different sounds, but pulls it all together with massive, crunching basslines and clean programming. "Zero M2" in fact, kicks off with some upright bass sounds and electric piano that reminds one of Roni Size, but instead of clipping along with some breakbeats, the song builds slowly before dropping a heavy, dirty bass about halfway through before blending the two sounds together. "E Trips" is almost entirely a rhythmic workout, blasting along with modulated analogue synths that hiccup alongside sharp beatwork.

He's not afraid to let off the pedal a bit in places either, as "Someone 20" drifts through a trippy sort of realm that calls to mind headier work by Kruder & Dorfmeister, and both "Pleasure" and "Loose Synths" pull in some soft arpeggio clouds that take a nod from trance music while also dropping in more aggressive beats and bass in places. It's a unique combination, and one that shows Benga isn't afraid to hop out of a world that's often overly-dark with some lighter (and sometimes even bordering on cheesy) sounds.

Of course, in other places it's about as hard as they come. "Crunked Up" is certainly fitting of its title, but both "The Cut" and "26 Basslines" are even more ruthless, with the latter dropping an especially ruthless slab of bass that groans and moans through some wicked filtered shifts and skittish beats that keep the tension pumping. Easily one of the more embraceable dubstep releases that I've heard to date, Diary Of An Afro Warrior is a good place to dip your toes in if you haven't yet.

rating: 810
Aaron Coleman 2008-05-15 20:58:04