Magnetic Man, Magnetic Man

Michaelangelo Matos

By Michaelangelo Matos

on 04.03.11 in Reviews

Magnetic Man

Magnetic Man

The supergroup principle has always tended to produce iffy results, from the well-named Blind Faith in rock to the not-quite-off-the-ground Supermayer in techno. Both had their moments, but their constituent parts tended to produce better music on their own. That applies as well to Magnetic Man, the dubstep trio consisting of Skream, Benga and Artwork, all from Croydon and all pioneers of the style: Skream's self-titled album and Benga's Diary of an Afro-Warrior are two of dubstep's defining albums.

A dubstep supergroup with mixed results

Their new team-up isn't quite a naked cash-grab (though you could hardly blame any of those guys for wanting to get seriously paid after watching their successors leapfrog over them in popularity), but there are times when it comes close, as with the mutant bass wobble of "Fire," with Ms. Dynamite's steely voice adding to the that's-enough-already effect. But although it infuriated the underground faithful, "I Need Air" — a trance-kissed pop tune with Angela Hunte singing along with her good friend, Auto-tune — is a charming meeting ground between bass-music proclivities and Radio 1's needs. It's also indicative of Magnetic Man's real strength: Turns out that Skream, Benga, and Artwork — all known for a certain steeliness of sound — are best when they're most delicate, as with the airy "Flying Into Tokyo" and the soft-padded "Ping Pong."