If you’re of a certain age, what irresistibly comes to mind when you hear the phrase “Zed’s dead,” is the classic line uttered by Bruce Willis in Quentin Tarantino’s 1994 film, “Pulp Fiction.”
But if you’re from a younger generation, and plugged into the dubstep movement, Zeds Dead evokes heavy beats and genre-busting experiments, compliments of the Canadian electronic music duo, DC and Hooks.
The production tag-team emerged from Ontario as the hip-hop influenced beat house Mass Productions, releasing one record, “Fresh Beetz,” before re-branding their crew Zeds Dead in 2009. That’s when DC and Hooks, along with cohorts The Killabits, founded the wildly popular Bassmentality weekly jam hosting international touring acts.
Following Bassmentality’s explosion on the Canadian dubstep scene, Zeds Dead has been pumping a relentless output of records, releasing seven EPs in two years, in addition to a slew of remixes of music by artists such as Radiohead, The Rolling Stones, Foo Fighters, Massive Attack, and The Roots, in addition to remixing their own material.
Earlier this month, Zeds Dead dropped “Victor,” a collaborative EP with rapper Omar LinX.
An online-only mixtape sponsored by popular electronic label Mad Decent, “Victor” is available as a free download on SoundCloud (soundcloud.com).
The seven-song EP features remixed versions of previous collaborations with LinX, along with new tracks. “Victor” is not a just-add-water release with random, inconsequential freestyle rhymes over a scattershot of samples.
The music is focused, sliding between old-school soul samples and post-millenium, space-age bass thumps, giving it an aesthetic that is both ancient and futuristic.
Lyrically, LinX is equally precise in delivery and content, going into depth on a range of topics, from personal and relational, to political and spiritual subject matter.
On the opening track, “Coffee Break,” LinX gives it up for the blue-collar workers who make the world go ’round but still feel stuck in one place. He recites his lilting double-time raps with a rough and raspy voice: “I’m in today, I’m overworked, I’m underpaid/They’re takin’ off, I’m stayin’ late, they’re slackin’ on their coffee break/I had enough, I want a raise, I know my cards and I know the game/But I’m struttin’ around with my head up high like I own the place/They see me now and I know I grind/I play to work they can’t deny.”
During “Jackie Boy 2.0,” LinX turns the mirror inward, looking at his abysmal response to a breakup, admitting, “I got holes in my heart like holes in my liver/Seems like the more she takes is the more I give her/Never to win forever a stranger to you/Hate me for what I was, forget the good I do/A strange place where I keep my feelings called the four lines with a see-through ceiling/Because of where I am, didn’t see the path, I see the past/I see the problems that await but I don’t seem to act/So nothing’s learned, no triumphant return/I never put out the fire I just watch it burn … A sudden change in the wind will spin this boat we’re in/But when there’s nothing to hold, I’d rather sink than swim.”
LinX appears with Zeds Dead on the duo’s current tour, which lands Sunday at The Knitting Factory.