Dedication is the third album from once bright new dubstepper Zomby, who burst fresh-faced onto the scene back in 2008 (or 2007 if any scenesters are reading this, in which case I invite you to kindly gouge out your eyes with scissors). We are, however, presently unable to gauge the exact level of face freshness which Zomby possesses - at least until Julian Assange determines that he constitutes a direct threat to global democracy - as his true identity remains a closely guarded secret.

Previously, one might have been happy to let Zomby get away with this ever-so-slightly precious piece of non-promotion, especially when he was using it to accentuate the release of music that was, both in form and content, a welcome departure from the norm - namely, the rather delectable Where Were You In '92 (2008). Half album; half mixtape; all awesome, WWY was a veritable ManBearPig of the post-dubstep boom, and the blogosphere rightly began to ask itself who was this cat that won't back out when there's danger all about?

As it transpired, Zomby was not this cat (this cat was John Shaft), and second album-cum-mixtape One Foot After The Other (2009) was a fairly disappointing affair, lacking the excitement of its predecessor whilst failing to make any gains in quality of production. Dedication, sadly, is if anything even more anaemic an offering, seeming to revel in the fact that it sounds like it was written from start to finish in somebody's bedroom. In a ruthless purge, the scrote-tingling junglist sub-bass of WWY has been totally expunged from the Zomby toolkit, as have the imaginative samples from sources as diverse as Daft Punk, Blade Runner, and Street Fighter II. Meanwhile, the once mighty ravehorn makes but one desultory appearance (I won't spoil it by telling you where).

What Zomby seems to be aiming at instead with tracks like 'Things Fall Apart' is to prove that his brand of chiptune inflexed arpeggiation can be utilised to make 'serious' music. In the process, he almost consciously steers away from the the brashness of his debut, and ends up with a largely joyless album that is far too dull to merit being called 'experimental'. Occasionally we may see artefacts of imagination, such as in the shambling, staggered arp of 'Digital Rain', but if we're being uncharitable (which we may as well, safe in the knowledge that Boomkat will already have proclaimed Dedication the one true grail), we could make the point that other producers (Starkey; Girl Unit; Flying Lotus) have been flogging this horse for at least 5 years.

If the album can be said to have a highpoint, it is arguably hiding somewhere between 'Alothea' and 'Riding With Death', which together with 'Black Orchid' provide a triptych of melodies that, listened to in succession, almost make up a full song. Listeners are advised, however, to make their departure before reaching 'Lucifer', which sounds like a failed bid to produce for the inexplicably resurgent Chris Brown. Certainly only the truly dedicated will want to stick around for 'Haunted' and 'Basquiat', which make a rather artless lunge for pieces such as Aphex Twin's sublime 'Avril 14th', but end up approximating something not far off a Hallmark movie soundtrack. If you strain your ears, you can just about hear Haley Joel Osment informing you he has AIDS.

In short, Dedication is a hugely disappointing album from an artist capable of much better, and I hope at some point in the future he decides, once again, to fuck mixing and dance. In the meantime, fans of WWY are advised to check out recent releases from Teeth and Deadboy, both of whom I'm tipping now to put out highly lacklustre albums in 2014

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