I can't say I'm a huge fan of Venetian Snares, I've heard couple of albums but a lot of it is a bit too intense for me. Reggae is the last thing you (or I at least) would expect them to do. But sure enough, they have made some reggae. Well, of a sort.
I doubt very much that many die hard reggae fans would even call it reggae as it is actually more like electro dub than anything else. I suppose it is exactly what you would expect if Venetian Snares listened to a lot of dub and used it as an influence.
It is not even straightforward electro dub. The first track is the only one that really resembles reggae but it is like some futuristic computer-gone-crazy kind of reggae. There are loads of edits and glitches, and only a very vague melodic theme weaved through the track, but also a definite skank and lovely bassline.
There is also a strange and slightly creepy pitched down vocal line, not singing but talking. Towards the end you hear some massive reverbs, typical in dub, and some echoes which remind you that this is some kind of an attempt at dub. I can't imagine how long it took to make this, it sounds like it was started with a regular electro reggae track and then remixed and edited for hours and hours.
The second track is the one that resembles dub the most. It starts with an almost conventional skank and upbeat but quickly descends into glitchy edits again, although this is done with focus and doesn't sound completely out of place or unnecessary. The echoes and reverbs are there but there is also a very dark sound or theme that comes in halfway through the track in a luscious pad breakdown . The track fades out to leave this pad but comes back in again with a vengeance, taking the hyper-editing even further, which actually adds quite a lot of pace and even drama to the track.
The other two tracks on Cubist Reggae go back to a more typical Venetian Snares style with less of the dub and reggae influence, although it is still there, just much less so. I don't listen to a lot of this type of music so I don't have much to compare it to but the last track reminds me of Aphex Twin a lot with the unbelievable hyper-editing and the dark yet beautiful melodies floating behind a foreground of madness.
For me, this is the best music that I have heard from Venetian Snares. As you would expect, it is highly original, genre jumping, intense, and incredibly unusual. If you're a fan of electronic dance music and/or dub then you should check this out.