STORY BY: Daniel Arnold , PHOTOGRAPHY: TEDDY FITZHUGH (f82)
Dubstep pioneer Mala recorded his lastest album, out September 11th on Brownswood Recordings, in Cuba. Find an exclusive stream of the LP below, followed by Daniel Arnold’s story on how it came together from FADER #82, which will be on stands in October.
Cuba is the last place Digital Mystikz co-founder Mala would have picked to record. His first trip there was a blind stab, taken only to indulge the hunch of influential UK radio mainstay Gilles Peterson, who was out to play matchmaker and mine new sounds for his label, Brownswood Recordings. In Peterson’s mind, Cuba’s heavy politics and defiant positivity made the country’s music perfectly suited to Mala, an influential pioneer of dubstep, whose music up until now has all been steeped in crushing Jamaican bass.
Mala knew little of Cuban culture, but the producer didn’t think twice before signing on to make a record blending his style with the island’s jaunty trademark timba music. The resulting album, Mala in Cuba, will be his first full-length after innumerable 12-inch singles and a world of DJ gigs. Digital Mystikz released their first single in 2004, and in the eight years since, the 32-year-old Brit has become a seasoned traveler, having dusted turntables with his waist-long dreads in 69 countries. Now, after the commercialization of dubstep, the genre he helped kick start, he’s willing to venture to new places. “I like to be free from what I know,” Mala says. “That’s when real living happens. I’m not a planning type of person.” As it turns out, Cuba’s not a planning type of place either…