Album of the month
DVA [Hi: Emotions] 'Notu_Uronlineu' (Hyperdub)
Just when you think you know all you need to about an artist – in this case Leon Smart, aka Scratcha, aka DVA, aka DVA [Hi:Emotions] and so on – he goes and releases an album that forces you to reassess everything. Witty, conceptual, original and above all both musically exciting and enjoyable, it’s an understatement to say that DVA’s second album ‘NOTU_URONLINEU’ is mature. While playfully addressing deadly serious themes of digital duality and encroaching corporate control, it strikes out boldly from his former sound while still relating to it. He’s still making experimental club R&B shapes, but abandons the constrictions of dancefloor formulas for an abstract journey into 21st century soul. This is a rare record that feels ultra-modern without having to resort to current club clichés. We’ve always loved DVA, but now he deserves a new level of respect.