The first striking thing about Guido is his affection for pop music. One of few dubstep producers who values songs over sounds, his debut album, Anidea, contains some of the hottest buttered soul since Isaac Hayes covered Burt Bacharach and Hal David. After coming up through Bristol’s grime and dubstep scenes, Guido dropped two 2009 singles on Punch Drunk. The first, “Orchestral Lab” showcased his dubstep skills, thriving on open space, cut by synthetic horns and string stabs. The second, “Beautiful Complication,” was something else entirely. Beginning with distinctly un-rhythmic down beats and hand-claps before exploding into a multitracked, Destiny’s Child-worthy vocal, “Beautiful Complication” telegraphed not only Guido’s love for R&B, but the potential future of dubstep. “Orchestral Lab” and “Beautiful Complication” both show up on the album. So does the B-side to “Orchestral Lab,” “Way U Make Me Feel,” though in slightly different form. When “Way U Make Me Feel” dropped in 2009, it was a slow-burning instrumental—along with Burial & Four Tet’s “Moth,” Joy Orbison’s “Hyph Mngo,” and Joker & Ginz’s “Purple City,” one of the best dubstep tracks of the year. On Anidea, “Way U Make Me Feel” becomes a straight diva moment. Guido grafts a furious performance by vocalist Yolanda onto the instrumental track and makes a good thing even better. The album version of “Way U Make Me Feel” epitomizes everything that Guido is great at—on the one hand, the show-stopping, scenery-chewing vocal is flying in all directions, and there’s nothing even remotely dubsteppy about it; one the other hand, he’s bracing her with uncommonly assured and compelling music.
That’s the second striking thing about Guido: His restraint, which stands in direct opposition to his pop acumen. “Way U Make Me Feel” and “Beautiful Complication” are watershed moments that, in the context of the album, are allowed to sound special. Guido’s general MO is tight songs with a few slight flourishes—a piano run here, some trumpets there—so when the future R&B enters the mix, it sounds both supported by the rest of the album and nothing like it. Throughout Anidea, Guido holds his cards close to his chest. On “You Do It Right,” Anidea’s seventh tune, he deftly uses a clipped vocal sample—the kind that, in the hands of artists like James Blake and Girl Unit, has all but defined the year in electronic music. Guido, obviously a guy that’s tuned in to what’s current, waits half the album and then only uses the vocal manipulation on one song, almost just to prove that he can nail it. There’s also the album’s centerpiece, “Mad Sax,” which chops up a synthetic sax riff into an absolute party-killer. If Guido had begun the album with “Mad Sax,” it would have all been downhill afterward. Instead, he slowly builds up to it with the first five tracks, and down from it with the next six. In an era when artists are consistently trying to blow the roof off with each song, sometimes it’s refreshing to hear someone holding back.
-Marty Brown, 2010