When a record by Hyperdub lands on one’s table, the brain automatically starts to run a gloomy vision, which is mostly due to Burial and Kode9. For more than eight years, the label has been a guarantor of quality-dubstep in the form of solid to outstanding releases. Leon Smart, who under the name of DVA is coming forward with his debut »Pretty Ugly«, easily gets in line there, even though it’s obvious from the first glance that the window shades aren’t quite aligned. The monotone structure of »Polyphonic Dream« quickly raises feelings of melancholy, but the basic mood of »Pretty Ugly« is more reality-based than »Blade Runner«. That’s partly due to the fact that Smart adds Garage, Funk, Pop, Soul and other selected features to his dubstep, while still sticking with his very own sound. On the other hand, he has chosen the right features to add more than just another detail to his tracks: like the singer Zaki Ibrahim, who gives the rumbling of »Fire Fly« its very own charm. Vocals are generally a good choice, especially since some tracks like »Bare Fuzz« tend to almost fray because of their length. But then again, if mixed in with a sampler, it’ll be ideal club-material. Unfortunately, there’s not much suspense arising over the almost 50 minutes of playing time, so that »Pretty Ugly« remains to be more of a single-track-record than a total work of art. Hence, the record is a relaxed listen when picking out single tracks here and there. At least, the size of the portion can always be adjusted.