The brutal stop-time acieed of “Jugg” by Skee Mask, sets the tone for this EP. Bass as percussion, Percussion as bass. There are tender, melodic moments but they’re quickly squashed by voluminous Aphex-style synths. Gorgeous, if a bit hard to dance to.
“Slow Music” is the rainy day version. Thunder rumbles far away. You’re dry, but cold, left inside with your thoughts.
“RZZ” is a perfect beat and sub, messed with for six minutes. After “Slow Music”, uplighting strings and filtered melodies inspire the sun to peek through the blinds.
The distorted drum machine madness of “Play Ha” is a treat. It bounces along, switching up every once in a while.
And finally “Sphere in Total” is a great name for a track that feels like the credit bed for this dramatic EP-as-movie. Strings wrap around stairwells, filled with demon choirs.
This EP is a wonderful balance of detail and abandonment. It reminds me of the best IDM in the 90s and 00s that inspired me to get into music production. Keep this on repeat.
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.
The EP, 136, by Priceless, feels like a memory. The party was great and as messy as we’d hoped. We danced, there was just enough drama, the drugs confused us just enough to tickle our creativity. Now it’s time to drive home, but we need something that hints at the fading joy and will keep us awake. You could ask for nothing better than this EP.
We start with an intro which I appreciate because it sets the tone. Albums used to have intros and interludes. You don’t hear that much anymore, which surprises given it now costs less to include additional tracks, not more.
The intro hints at the broken party that we’re leaving. Things went well until they didn’t. Echos of rave bass and sirens are presented for meditation over a beat that’s danceable but not quite, while bizarre little noises mess with your head and expectations.
Then we’re into it. “Pads X Drones”, the first track, picks up where the Intro left off, before diving into a prickly banger of funky drums and big grimey bass. There’s a large amount of space, tho, reminding me of Spring Heel Jack trying to take jungle/dnb to another level back in the 90s.
“Warehouse” paints an accurate picture of being lost in a large space. We’re all milling about, dancing during the hard bits, then wondering how we got there. It’s an impressionist painting of tripping at a warehouse rave. This is my favorite track on the EP.
The next track, “Purple”, is lush and wonderful. It rolls along, pockets of sound design fly by, leaving you with a smile on your face. If you’re driving, you’d do well to put this on repeat.
And then the final track, “Tell Them”, is the jungle version of everything accomplished by the rest of the EP. The high energy will fuel you enough to get you home after the rave.
I caught on to HAAi a few months ago with “I Never Cared Too Much For Jungle” which I found just so wonderfully, compellingly odd. “It’s Something We Can All Learn From” pushes me up against the same car in the parking lot. It’s danceable, terrifying, wandering and beautiful all in the same five minutes and 41 seconds. Breakbeat samples play tag with some of the weirdest vocal samples ever. The dynamics trick you into thinking something’s wrong with your headphones, or your mind. And then it just stops. I’m definitely left wanting more.
Out now on R&S Records, this four-track EP covers a lot of ground.
“Wide Eye”, the first track, would fit well into a house set, though it feels like about three different tracks. There’s an acieed middle section surrounded by lush house chords.
The second tune, “Skooma” is what piqued my interest. It starts off with a really nice half tempo beat and odd noises the grow and change over time. Then suddenly the rollercoaster goes underground, and we’re surrounded by unrelated sounds and vocal grunts in all the right places. It’s wonderfully unmusical, purely rhythm and texture.
“Stampede” starts as a drum kit work out that lulls you into a false sense of shruggery before hitting you with hard kicks and even harder crunchy snares. Once it opens up, drops to half time and floats off into the atmosphere, I’m in love. This reminds me of mid-2000’s IDM in a great way. I can listen hard or I can dance harder. I could even see this in a UK funky set, once it gets rolling. Or maybe if FSOL made grime?
“Termina”, the title track, is actually my least favorite on the album. Don’t all reviews love saying that? I love the percussion, industrial and melodic at the same time, but the arps and pads just don’t do it for me.
And finally, “Spore” carries us off into the dark. A little bit Aphex, a little bit 2-step, this scratches an itch for me. I don’t know that I’d want to hear it soberly on a dance floor, but I think it’s beautiful.
© Bass Tourist