Zomby, Where Were U in ’92?

Michaelangelo Matos

By Michaelangelo Matos

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

Where Were U In '92 ?


You might have expected Zomby's debut album to be an exercise in head- spinning futurism. This is, after all, the guy (he's from London and doesn't give out his real name) who gained a name with the rough-and-slinky dubstep of "Spliff Dub" and "Mu5h", not to mention Rustie's dizzying remix of the former (on "Mu5h"'s B-side). Instead, Where Were U in '92? is a sharp jump backward — and a welcome one.

A delicious, funhouse-mirror trip through ’90s rave

Every track is drenched in the tumultuous sound of that year's new dance-music model: clattering breakbeats, nattering piano lines, belch-and-zoom low end and vocal snippets that, run through cheap samplers, sounded alien even if you'd heard them in their original environments a zillion times. "Tears in the Rain" utilizes a muddy snippet from the Supremes '"Come See About Me" ("I've been, I've been crying") that gains surprising poignancy atop wobbling bass and tinny snares; "U Are My Fantasy (Street Fighter II Theme Remix)" relentlessly works a bit of Baby D's gurgling-euphoric '92 classic "Let Me Be Your Fantasy" into videogame music, an apt crossing of two forms 'golden age. One of the cheekier, and most resonant, aspects of Where Were U in '92? is that the songs segue, if not slam, right into each other, as if taped off pirate radio and run together with a cassette deck's pause button — the sure mark of a true fan.