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Who? Don’t let the tricky name fool you. This is not some soundtrack or compilation, just a couple of cheeky artists who go by the name of Various. A bit like electronic musician Nobody, and just as un-google-able, Various play the name game to keep people guessing, and listening. Anyhow, the duo remain, as they wish, without full names. They are Ian and Adam and that’s all we get. The pair got their start in London and now call the mouthful-of-a-town of Walthamstow, just to the North of London, home. The’ve been making music for close to four years, and until now, every release has been vinyl-only, with vague titling, vaguer production credits, and in some cases nothing but the sexy line drawings on the covers.

What’s The Deal? While some pigeonhole the band’s debut, The World Is Gone, as dubstep, a kind of catch-all for any dub-influenced electronica, Various is more (fittingly) a mix of styles, with dub being just one element, no more or less important than folk music, cut-and-paste breakbeats, R&B, or even the kind of copyright-baiting antics of Negativland or the Residents. The lilting and beautiful dark folk ballads of “Circle of Sorrow” and “Deadman” offer moments of acoustic calm amid the storm of clattering kicks, muffled beats, and melancholic vocals on most tracks. Another standout is the Martian funk of “Hater,” where a sweet vocal track makes for a beguiling counterpoint.

Fun Fact: All the anonymity has something to do with the ways in which image gets in the way of serious musical integrity. To that end, it helps that Various don’t have press photos, but rather original artworks, line drawings they send out with albums, usually involving gorgeous naked women and zoo animals. J. GABRIEL BOYLAN

Now Hear This: Various Production – “Hater” Download MP3

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