Burt Cope’s latest effort shows the hard-earned results of his ongoing sonic negotiation; from the new kid on the block in UK bass to the established presence he is today.
“Broken” is a potent amalgam of Cope’s sounds, situated somewhere between his unapologetically off-kilter entries, as shown in “E Numberz” and “Sword Fight”, and his large and in charge efforts, such as the recently released “Business” EP. The Oxford resident’s knack for tuneful build-ups is on full show, marinating the meat of the track before dropping harsh screeches and chromatic bass licks that play fetch and return over a commanding kick. It stands out as an entry that, whilst embedded in the EDM-influenced sounds of the day, still pays homage to those that came before it in the scene. The vocal is, by all accounts, very memorable, and is sure to be earworm in the quieter hours of the working week.
A host of impressive features complete the EP, with UKG standout Yemi teasing the gentler flavors out through the vocal line. The use of stereo lifts the added keys to the sublime, and bright strings accompany the emotive buildups before dropping into the comfort of a bouncy bassline and crisp NUKG drums.
If Yemi’s flip was working with the lighter elements, Deadbeat’s entry makes full use of the shadow. Sheffield’s busiest wizard of bass pulls no punches, reveling in the grottier sounds that he has, over time, shown a complete mastery of. Guttural, warping lows and 4×4 drums are wonderfully layered, and a commitment to the use of variation across the main motif does the track, and bass music more generally, a great service. Take notes aspiring bass producers.
Finally, Mr. Dubz’s release ramps up the BPM to drum and bass territory, suggesting jump-up flavors before confounding expectations, delving into droning, detuned bass, and chopped-up vocals. Cosmic arpeggios and dissonant synth breaks stitch the action together, making for a welcome uptempo addition amongst the remixes.
“Broken” is a neat addition to Burt Cope’s established catalog, with the featured remixes showcasing impressive work from standouts in UKG, bassline, and drum and bass.
Seagrave’s second instalment of their compilation EPs “Quarters” is a tetrathlon of wonky club rockets, with the course charted out through the leftfield.
The release plods into action with “KEK”: a tightly-coiled collaboration between seasoned dubstepper Stereotyp and Malaysian standout Arabyrd. No stranger to eclectic pairings, Arabyrd’s riffs are a piquant accompaniment to the sinister instrumental–a rolling, sludgy effort with trap and dubstep flavours à la Disco Rekah. From Vienna to Kuala Lumpur via London, KEK shows the time-proven value in international link-ups.
Next on the billing, K-65 goes straight to the rave with unapologetic drum and bass flavours, matching uptempo drums, guttural strings and punchy 808s with histrionic vocals; bell-style arpeggios creep their way up through the middle of the track and make for a wonderfully euphoric crescendo–one to be heard through a post-covid club system.
Low End Activist then jumps aboard with a refix of “4am”–a murky UKG cut underscored by the click-clacks of a cold snare and a subby bass that fast finds itself front and centre after the halfway point. Dancehall vocals swell in and out along with terse synth motifs, providing brief flecks of light before again shrouding the listener in a moody soundscape.
Finally, on a release replete with disjointed features, Sentinel 793’s “Hat Rocks” is perhaps the most eccentric of them all. The range of stereo work is deft and anxiety pushing, with uncertainty emerging as the prevailing feeling. The format of a partially-reconstructed, progressive electronic track is there, but it is clear there’s intentional subversion at hand–one to annoy the purists.
Quarters volume 2 is a well-curated snapshot of leftfield bass music around the world, with a little something for everyone.
Martyn comes consistent with “Frozen Bread Snaps”, starting off this EP on a deep, orchestral vibe. Brooding basses rumble under melancholy strings and garage chords echo in the distance. Soft and warm, Martyn always knows how to create an atmosphere.
The atmospheric pressure changes with the second track “Door of Gulf” by Sin Gremlinz and Jesta. “Door” harkens back to my favorite period of jungle and drum and bass, when a Guy Called Gerald and Photek kept things steppy and dark. Beautiful elements of space and pace roll along, consistent but never repeating.
Noire brings in the UK Funky vibes with “Ballas”, serving as a great transition as the tempo slows. It’s deep and tribal but has the same big open atmosphere as the first two tracks. For the headphone crew, listen closely, the details hidden way in the back add a really nice natural feel.
We close with “Dusty Glass Bubbles” from Parris. The track drones and hiccups, while bubbles, as the title promises, float by. The simple, delightful little beat sneaks in and out. Overall, it’s a beautiful moment in time, stretched out into the five minutes before you have to come up for air.
At first listen, this EP felt a little incongruent, but the consistency lies in the spaces created. Each track might paint the same open field, just at different times of the day. And each painting is beautiful and deserves study.
© Bass Tourist