Album Review: Datsik – Vitamin D

April 25th, 2012

Posted by Gosia Mrugala

Released just two weeks ago on Steve Aoki’s Dim Mak label, Datsik‘s album Vitamin D is the banger his followers were primed for. The B.C. artist has described dubstep as “totally the punk rock of electronic music,” and on this debut LP he explores his limits, merging a wide range of musical inspirations — most notably Wu-Tang Clan and its MVPs RZA and Method Man. The album definitely captures something of the spirit of Wu-Tang, with its ominous, futuristic sound and gangster vibe.

My personal favourite here has to be “Complete Control” — but the whole of the album is a dark, euphonious mental roller coaster ride. Let’s break it down:

1. “Annihilate” – Definitely a track to entice the listener into playing the entire album. A perfect introduction to Vitamin D’s diversity of dark and captivating sounds.

2. “Fully Blown” (feat. Snak the Ripper) – Here, Datsik displays his affinity for hip-hop. He wastes no time on this one, jumping right in, without any buildup at all, and enlisting Snak The Ripper to provide some heavy-duty rap vocals.

3. “Syndrome” (with Downlink) – This track starts off with a classical vibe, then drops in some overwhelming bass. For me, it’s a standout for merging two such seemingly incompatible genres with surprising artfulness.

4. “Bonafide Hustler” – It’s almost like a biographical anthem for Datsik, the quintessential dubstep hustler. The sound is grimy yet cutting edge, pretty much ensuring that this will be a “bonafide” banger in the clubs and on the airwaves.

5. “Evilution” (with Infected Mushrooms & Jonathan Davis) – A collaboration with trip-hop duo Erez Eisen and Amit Duvdevani (a.k.a. Infected Mushroom) and Korn lead vocalist Jonathan Davis results in psychedelic/trance/electronic rock track that opens the darkest corners of the musical mind. I pressed replay more than a few times — as will you. It’s one of those tracks that invades the mind and refuses to leave.

6. “Need You” – This one sounds a bit like a mash-up of music and sound effects from old arcade games. It creates a certain musical clutter in the mind (a bit of everything all over the place) — but isn’t that what dubstep is? Mashed-up, unpredictable and a bit cluttered (in a good way)?

7. “Don’t Feel Right” – Here he starts with a playful electronic rhythm, then shifts into memorable sample from Shakedown‘s 2002 hit “At Night,” and from there into an overpoweringly grimy sound. Quite the mash-up, but definitely worth a replay or two.

8. “Light The Fuse” – A track with a very catchy, bob-your-head-along kind of kick to it. Dubstep usually conjures a dirty, borderline-rebellious feeling for me, but this one put me on a playground playing hopscotch — at least until it reached the 1:09 mark and it took on a different spin: grimy, anarchic and overpowering.

9. “Complete Control” – A fitting title for this superlative banger.  With everything from intriguing build-ups to filthy drops, it takes you on a dark, fantastical. I put this one on repeat, letting Datsik take “complete control” of my mind.

10. “Punisher” (with Downlink) – Okay, the build-up was a little irritating, but the drop won back my attention. A daring, musically capricious piece of production that I can see entrancing listeners, whether on the dancefloor or chilling with headphones in the “grimy” comfort of one’s home.

11 “Napalm” (feat. Masinian) – The opening recalls the start of Skrillex‘s “First Year of (Equinox),” until the rap vocals swoop in and ambush the listener. Can’t say I was a big fan of this track or came away from it feeling the urge to press replay. But it does offer a unique sound.

12. “Double Trouble” (with DJ Z-Trip) – “We came here tonight to get started.” Except it kinda felt like it was taking a bit long to start. Still, once it revs up, this one repays your patience. A suitably filthy track from one of Canada’s brightest young bass music stars, this does what every good album-closer should: leaves the listener eager for more.

 Gosia Mrugala is a Toronto-based blogger and reviewer. You can read her blog HERE, and follow her on Twitter HERE.