The only constant quality about Zomby is that he never fails to surprise, and his new LP just might be his strangest release yet. Dedication is a much more restrained effort than his previous output with less emphasis on woozy arpeggios and twisted beats, choosing instead to focus on creating certain moods and atmospheres. There has always been some amount of melancholy hiding between the weed-induced paranoia and throwback rave of Where Were You In 92? and One Foot In Front of The Other but these distressed emotions are much more pronounced here, even on the stunning anthem Natalia’s Song’.
With ‘Digital Rain’ and ‘Alothea’, Zomby shows his greatest talents lie in his abilities to make simple melodies sound really trippy and to lose listeners in his short yet immersive tracks. By making subtle tweaks and carefully inserting and withdrawing elements he pushes the songs forward and everything remains interesting despite the minimal presentation. His pal Panda Bear pops in on the catchy ‘Things Fall Apart’ which was inevitable given the affinity they have for each other’s music. As the collaboration shows, Zomby’s music is ripe for vocalists to experiment with room for more MCs and singers to get involved.
Perhaps the most fascinating part of the album is the final section. Beginning with the raw drones of ‘Vanquish’, Zomby ushers in a sense of darkness which he continues with the tense ‘A Devil Lay Here’ and ‘Florence’ that threatens to break into heavy jungle but never does. The careful introduction of piano adds to the bittersweet feeling throughout the record and finally becomes the lead instrument in the beautiful ‘Basquiat’. At this point it feels as though Dedication has come to its conclusion but out of the depths appears the swirling ‘Mozaik’- a final funky send off complete with overwhelmingly dizzy bleeps.
Clocking in at just over 35 minutes, Dedication is at times messy but refreshingly personal and displays another fascinating chapter in the Zomby story.