Years ago, a fateful experiment in the physics laboratory at Oxford University went painfully awry and turned mild-mannered student, Graham Wiggins, into the notorious Dr. Didg. No, boys and girls, do not fret. Wiggins doesn’t flip his wig, turn green, and tear down whole city blocks in his rage; but he does rip shit up on stage and in the studio. Wiggins throws the ancient instrument into the digital maelstrom of today’s dance music, bending it into new contexts, forces, and sounds — all so you can get down.
And, a lot of the time, while listening to Dust Devils, you will be thrown into that ass-kicking chaos. “Pianola” kicks off the disc with its hyperbolic, Art of Noise electro funk. It’s an enjoyable track, but I prefer the darker soundscapes he artfully splashes onto the album. The title cut, for example, is a deep, dark d&b full of didg and distortion. “Tboli,” with its computer-warbled vocals, is an anthem for the heavily-medicated. “Harry’s Multimix” is a cool, schizoid deep house cut while “Arrhythmia” is a cryptic, shadowy jazzy piece for the hipsters-on-heroin crowd. But the best cut on the album has to be “Sharks,” a very heavy melodica dub that would make Augustus Pablo proud.
Whatever happened in that Oxford lab may have been bad science but was pure magic. That is exactly what Didg gives you on this genre hopper of an album. Dust Devils is a musical voyage that will satisfy the most traveled of ears.
Shakti Records: http://www.shaktirecords.com