SNUFF Snuff Vs Urban Dub (10 Past 12)

SNUFF VS URBAN DUB Blue Gravy :Phase 9 (10 Past 12)

Snuff are a veteran British hardcore band who originally formed in 1986, but the "Snuff Vs Urban Dub" EP is the first of their material I've clapped ears on. It features straight and dubbed up versions of the songs "Nick Northern" and "Damage Is Done". In standard trim the former, with its bristling brass and organ, sounds a little like a punkier version of Dexys Midnight Runners circa "Geno" (a good thing, incidentally), whilst "Damage Is Done" is a more traditional guitar thrash that demonstrates just why Snuff attracted the patronage of bands such as Green Day.

The Urban Dub equivalent of "Nick Northern", "Northern Dub", stresses the aforementioned organ and brass lines and relocates the vocals to a cavernous echo chamber in a distant postcode. (The organ riff reminds this listener of the untitled final track on the fabulous "Auteurs Vs -ziq" remix project, incidentally.) It opens up the original without sacrificing an iota of its righteous ire. "Damage Is Done" receives an even more thorough overhaul, sounding like the distress signals and final radio transmissions of a dying planet by the time Urban Dub have finished with it, whilst retaining a deal of the original's pogo-friendly pace.

Appreciation of their full-length dub excursion "Blue Gravy :Phase 9" is made a degree more difficult by not having the original versions (from the "Blue Gravy" album) to hand, but the technique and feel remain the same. This is clammy, sweaty and oppressive music that sounds like practically nothing else I've heard. Measured against the dub competition there's less self-conscious trickery and distracting weirdness built into it than Massive Attack Vs Mad Professor's "No Protection", and there's a lot more going on in these grooves than on Primal Scream's spaced-out and smoky "Echo Dek". It's the kind of music on which anything could happen, constantly rifling through the unexpected, as big brass riffs are stalked by predatory basslines amidst all manner of electronic and percussive chaos. Deliberately hard going, but undeniably very, very different.