Dave Nardolilli, better known by his stage name Dubloadz, is a formidable and rapidly rising force in the underground electronic music scene. Still fairly new to production, Nardolilli released his very first EP “Fight Music” in 2014 and since then has released four more. Within four years, Nardolilli went from being a niche artist to being quite popular among dubstep fans and garnered support from fellow DJs like Virtual Riot, FuntCase and 12th Planet. Known for his signature “wiggly” sound and his heavy use of layered sampling, Nardolilli takes everything he learned from his previous releases and goes all out with it on his first full-length record “Dubloadz and the 9000 Ghosts,” which released Aug. 10. Whether that is good or bad will depend on the listener’s preferences in regards to Nardolilli’s heavily distorted style. From a technical standpoint, “Dubloadz and the 9000 Ghosts” is a fairly consistent and impressive record that fans of the style will thoroughly enjoy.
Ironically, some of the best cuts off the record are those where Nardolilli takes a departure from his usual style and experimented with new genres, like the track “For F*cks Saké.” This electro house track uses clang-y percussion and squeaky horn samples to great effect. The payoff is a drop that never gets repetitive or stale. It constantly switches between the same punchy horns, liquidy modulated synths and a delightfully twangy toy piano that ties the heavy and light aspects together masterfully. The second drop ramps up the intensity by upping the tempo and adding extra bassline synths and sweeping hi hats that kick the whole track into high gear.
“Break the Rail” is another fresh mixing of genres. The cut features Sullivan King, who provides fittingly harsh and abrasive metal vocals and guitar fills that lead into robotic oscillating synths and jarring record scratches. This cut is definitely one of the heaviest efforts put forth by Nardolilli on this LP and, as the midpoint of the album, really helps keep the momentum going.
The record is full of meaty, substantial tracks with a lot of love and effort put into them. Even though the album has two tracks that stick out as lower quality than the others, they still aren’t terrible. Unfortunately, these weaker tracks are the intro and closing tracks to the record. This makes starting and finishing it a little disappointing even with all of the bangers sandwiched between them.
The intro track “Cringe Control” marks Nardolilli’s third collaboration with rapper Crichy Crich over the course of his career. While the previous two Dubloadz tracks featuring Crich worked well around his vocals, “Cringe Control” could very well do without them. Crich’s painfully simple and cringe worthy verse at the beginning of the track – which makes the cut’s title either ironically fitting or a little too self-aware – is highly underwhelming. While the rest of the track is decent with the unique sample placement that has become standard for Nardolilli, Crich’s verse cheapens the whole experience and almost makes the track not worth it.
“Fight Music 2017” finishes off the album as a nod to Nardolilli’s initial “Fight Music” EP release. While the sentiment of bridging the gap between his earliest and latest releases is a nice touch, that also means a return to the more unrefined and repetitive nature of the original “Fight Music.” “Fight Music 2017” doesn’t do much different structurally from the original making it a little out of place on the new record.
Dave Nardolilli is steadily climbing his way to the top of the EDM food chain. His work ethic and passion are heavily apparent in his constant flow of quality releases as well as in the consistency of good cuts on his first full length record. While the beginning and end leave a little to be desired, the record overall is a solid contender for the best EDM project of 2017.
Best: “Bobble”; “Don’t Get Spooked”; “Sick Woofer”