“Paul Rose has made music under several different monikers, but in the past few years, his work as Scuba has arguably proven most vital. Even for someone working in a genre that’s as constantly stylistically fickle as bass, Rose has recently proven himself one of dance music’s most inventive producers, someone who’d rather take bass places it rarely frequents than simply follow trends. In Scuba’s world, nothing is off-limits – chunky rave chords, huge-sounding trance melodies, house music’s persistent thud – and whatever’s in his sonic arsenal is deployed to the point where bass as a genre is nearly and completely abandoned.”
–Pitchfork, April 2013
When you think of Scuba, you’ll think progressive, insightful and dextrous. For that reason, Paul Rose has cemented his position as one of bass music’s untouchables. With that, the excitement of seeing a cover for a new full length record is something that normally would make a lot of people turn their heads.
To mine, and I’m sure many others’ quiet disappointment, the cautiously named ‘Update’, forthcoming on the prestigious Hotflush Records, is in fact a 13 track compilation – a selection of some of Rose’s work over the past decade.
Being already very familiar with all the tracks on the album, I was dismissive at first.
However, as a testament to the kind of admiration any bass music enthusiast should have for Scuba and his previous three albums, better judgment was cast aside and replaced with a hope for some radical reimagining of all the cuts appearing on ‘Update’.
There is nothing chronological about the compilation and, for an artist whose most wholesome statements are made in full-length form that show obvious signs of development and evolution; there is certainly caution taken in the selection and order of the tunes – ‘Update’ is by no-means a “Scuba: The Greatest Hits” release.
Every track retains its relevance and quality, making this an undeniably welcome reminder into Rose’s back catalogue. While serving as a history lesson, if one were to imagine this as previously unreleased material, there is a definite lucidity to the producer’s ability to draw from so many areas of dance music – making this release an intelligible and cogent album in itself.
From the rushing 90s euphoria of ‘Adrenalin’, the plucked trance leads and tech-house baselines of ‘Hardbody’ and the Drexciya-style militance of ‘The Hope’, ‘Update’ is well endowed with 4/4 inclinations. Leaving no stone unturned, the amen break-infused, half-stepped ‘So You Think You’re Special’ is something that would comfortably suit the likes of Exit Records, while the DMZ-esque conga swing of ‘Lights Out’ benefits from added depth courtesy of some washing dub-techno stabs, ensuring there is something to savour whatever the mood.
Scuba’s ‘Update’ is a timeless record. It’s a worthy reevaluation of some of Scuba’s finest work to date and what we hope is a precursor for many more years of consistently inspirational and perfectly produced music from both Hotflush and Scuba himself.
Words by W. Jobsworth
Peace, love and respect.