WORDS

A Tribute To Apex

The world has lost another gifted soul.

Quietly, humbly, never with any fanfare or shouty signs of self-grandeur, Rob Dickeson spent the last 13 years stealthily touching us all with his music under a variety of roles and guises. And whether it first hit you as Unknown Error, a little later as Apex or more recently as Robert Oaks and Midnight Lamp, he had one touching consistency: his music could stare you deep in the eye, burn right through your bullshit and stir the deepest parts of your soul.

Sometimes complex and layered in textures, shade and counterpoint. Other times, overwhelmingly sparse and direct. Always real; Rob conjured deep feelings in every piece of music he gave us. From the physical drum funk, soaring chords and raw brutality of breakthrough Unknown Error tracks on TOV and Renegade Hardware right the way through to his his most touching and ultimately revealing emotional compositions on labels such as Mau5trap and his own Midnight Lamp, the tremors of Rob’s musicianship and soul craft began in 2005 and will never stop rumbling in the music of the kindred spirits he inspired.

From The Space Between to Inner Space, Falling to Yearning, Breathe to Gonzo via some of the most important labels across drum & bass and beyond (Moving Shadow, Hospital, Horizons, Subtitles, Lifted, Renegade Hardware and many more), the body of work Rob has given to the world is as close to immaculate as an artist can hope for. He never once spammed us with a tune for the sake of it. Ever.

Vast in its contrasts and articulation and timelessness, Rob was able to translate and convey that dark allure of drum & bass that’s tangible but almost impossible for most of us to define, describe and communicate ourselves. To put it another way; if someone who had never heard drum & bass before needed a truly authentic example of what the genre is, how powerful, stirring and immersive it can be, how it sounds like nothing else on the planet – you should play them one of Rob’s productions.

Rob’s abilities transcended one genre, of course. A deft guitarist since childhood, his broad musical palette has always been evident and is best experienced through his most recent gifts to the world: his tender, heartbroken downtempo album as Midnight Lamp and his Robert Oaks EP My Shadow.

Both offered to the world less than three months ago, these were his closing gestures to us. Heavy melancholy rich in blues and laced with frequently desolate and evocative titles, it’s clear that Rob wasn’t at peace with the world or himself when these releases were crafted. They were a way of him dealing with his own personal losses. Now painfully poignant in light of his passing, whether you knew him personally or through his music, they touch even deeper parts of your soul than anything he’s ever written.

Exactly when he passed or how he passed hasn’t been confirmed and we’re not here to speculate. We just want to celebrate what he’s given us, how he’s influenced us and hope that he is at peace now. Please spend some time listening to and sharing his music. Soak it up, let it burn away your bullshit because life is too short for anything else. Rest In Peace Rob, your music will live forever.