Release date: 9 March 2015 (BBE Music)

Beam Up’s album Innerstand steps strongly through a range of modern dub while also infusing tracks with wider influences. “I Must Be Dreaming” is a prime example: at 120bpm and full of reverb, it features an unexpectedly self-deprecating and romantic R&B-tinged vocal from Terrence Alfonso Bowry, rather than the expected lyrical content.

Once “Hanabi Dub” lights, Bowry switches to more of a chat over a digitally-tinged drum-n-bass groove. With an upbeat synth teaser, then a total dub meltdown at the break before a haunting rebuild – there’s plenty of engaging elements here.

Having reviewed the “Divers” b/w “Kick Off” 7-inch, the beginning of “Dive” is quite familiar, however after the opening bars a commanding female vocal establishes quite the elegant contrast to the heavyweight riddim with its brace of horns. The following “Divers” feels exactly like the b-side version that it is: an excellent weapon for selectors and an instrumental showcase.

The alternating melodica and organ bring some sounds of the East to “Kick Off,” and then “No Chains” follows with much more reggae stylings than dub. The themes from Jornick Joelick are strictly Rastafarian, addressing freedom and the escape from slavery both mental and physical.

Nearing a breakbeat, “Mi Amor” is another surprise as Bowry’s vocals are more mournful than lustful, making this a guest verse away from being sentimental hiphop. “Fisherman” opens by placing the listener on the water, before subcontinental synths and drums soar them away. Referencing back to the deejay era, “Travelling” is a light reggae roller, however this does perhaps dampen the impact of the lyrics a bit.

“Icchieban” (featuring Daisuke Ichihara) by contrast, is heavy dissonant horns and atmosphere, jazz steeped in (or is it stepped in?) dub. Of a similar weight, “Ghost Fight” is upbeat and at times soulful, which leads into the sparse arrangement of “Innocence.”

Ending the album with either an arrival or a departure, “Astronomy Dub” [also released as a 7″ – now sold out – paired with “Hanabi Dub”] does indeed seem extraplanetary, with extended reverberations and delays adding plenty of nuance to the lo-fi groove at the heart of the track.

Due in early March, Innerstand is a slightly-chilled yet well-connected dub journey. Lead single “I Must Be Dreaming” has already been released, and the whole album can be previewed on JunoDownload.

The Groove Thief
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