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Kode9 Nothing Hyperdub

Nothing is the first record Kode9, real name Steve Goodman, has released as an entirely solo venture, and perhaps fittingly, it is at points a lonely project. Deceptively, the bulk of the record is best tentatively described as footwork, and it’s this world that informs the forward facing levity on display — tracks like Wu Wei and Mirage practically sparkle with a syncopated, floor-friendly energy. This warped juke emerges as the record’s dominant dynamic, yet to interpret this energy as optimistic or upbeat would serve to under-represent the aching sentiment that draws its composite parts together.

Undoubtedly, the LP’s focal obsession with absence (most literally final track Nothing Lasts Forever, which concludes the album on a nine minute silence), feels attached to the passing of Goodman’s long time friend and collaborator The Spaceape last year. It’s a loss that is present throughout the record, not just during the one track that does feature the late MC, Third Ear Transmission — a feature as disturbing as it is poignant. Crucially, however, this absence doesn’t translate into despair, and the ultimate source of Nothing’s success is how Goodman refuses to allow the phantoms of emptiness to consume the record completely — even the darker club-leaning tracks, 9 Drones or Vacuum Packed, are relatively lithe. Nothing, for a record concerned with loss, is the sound of a producer far from resigned to those sentiments. The result is an affecting and arresting marriage between the pace of rhythm passed on to Goodman from Teklife, and the ghostly climate of Hyperdub’s earliest mutant dubstep releases. There might be a heavy silence beneath every rhythm, but Nothing never sounds like giving up.