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Arbitrary Noise Album Review

By Danny Contreras

There are two big factors that producers need to consider before jumping into the business: 1) the saturation of the genre, 2) and how much creativity can be added to make a good, commercially acceptable song.

In the growing American electronic dance music scene, dubstep has surfaced from all other genres as the more mainstream—quickly becoming over-saturated after the mainstream success of artists such as Kill the Noise, Skrillex and Excision. These three front-runners in dubstep have inspired many sound-alikes that have ruined an otherwise entertaining genre with overly distorted bass lines and just noise.

How can the freshman effort by DJ F*ck the Cops and EbrazE be described? The four song EP is predictable, but not to a boring extent. Sure, one can guess when the drops will happen, and when the main lead will be repeated; but it is exactly that which makes the EP so entertaining.

“Get Your Paper” begins with a catchy, 8-bit inspired lead. Homage to pot smokers, the distorted bass feels more electro than dubstep. Similar to Congorock’s remix of Avicii’s “Levels”, the bass line is high pitched; but true to dubstep, it’s very glitch-y, ready to start a mosh pit anywhere it’s dropped. The low-tuned “Get Your Paper” line is a little too much, however, and it makes the build up a little too generic. Not that it takes away from the song, but it doesn’t add much either.

Arguably the best song of the EP, “Moombah Swag” is grimy and dirty. This is where DJ F*ck the Cops and Ebraze truly shine. The style of the song is similar to that of New York hip-hop in the early 80s. The tempo feels slow, but not too slow. The best part is obviously the lead after the drop; an alarm sound that will confuse the listener because it doesn’t kick in until the third step of the bar. It’s similar to Alvin Risk, but different enough to make it stand out on its own. One can expect people to jump to this track, but not listen to it daily. Why? It really is too heavy, too energetic to be listened on the way to work, or school.

“When I was a Kid” returns to basic dubstep development. The bass distortion is not too powerful, which is good, allowing the kick to be heard, along with the 8-bit sound effects. Had dubstep been invented in the 80s, you could easily expect it in all the game classics. It’s not the best song of the album, but it is close to it. Featured vocalist, Tish, does an amazing job of giving the song a Jamaican feel, but the best part comes after his last verse, before the second big drop. Once the drop hits, the tempo speeds up, similar to Joel Kolveitt’s “Hate”. It truly is a fun song.

The album concludes with the eponymous “Arbitrary Noise” and it’s the producer’s attempt at a progressive dubstep sound. Again, one can hear Alvin Risk throughout the song , but it’s not a carbon copy of Risk. The tension build is wholly different, with DJFtC and Ebraze relying on drums rather than a low-to-high pitch bass build up which Alvin Risk does. “Arbitrary Noise” combines the best of the two former songs into one. The tempo is still slow, but not unenergetic. It caps off an impressive debut really well.

While it can be argued that there is a lot of room for improvement, or really high expectations for what will be produced next, one cannot argue the price: free. It will definitely add a different pace to anyone’s dubstep collection, while “Moombah Swag” is bound to confuse any listeners. For their freshman debut, DJFtC and Ebraze have truly impressed.