207 – Koto EP
It is no secret that I am a big fan of White Peach Records—I’ve covered several of their records on this platform alone and last summer I quite literally bought the t-shirt. With their frequent release schedule it’s hard not to feel lucky to have developed a taste for the sounds they’re repping, and I would wager that there wouldn’t be many better entry points if one was looking to get into them.
The label’s latest release is 207’s “Koto”, an EP that blends far eastern flavours with a modern, eclectic admixture of dub, grime and other bass music influences. Think Commodo, Nomine, Gantz, Kahn, etc. and you’ll be in the right vicinity.
“Koto” opens eponymously, bringing forth warping, shamisen-like string plucks, ghostly vocal stabs and washing stereo textures that are punctured by Commodo-style laser shots. The driving force of the piece is a slapping 808, which has taken centre stage in recent years, preferred over the mellower sub of times gone by.
“Mrtav” continues with much the same feel, which is an extension of this EP’s philosophy to not fix what isn’t broken. The filtered intro would be at home in any number of drill compositions and nods to the grime/drill influences that have clearly gone some way to inspire elements of the record. I really enjoyed the melodic and harmonic choices throughout this record, a case perhaps best exemplified by the following track, which remains my favourite on the EP.
Right from the suspenseful introductory chords, “Clochard” is deceptive in the way that it lingers, first crawling this way and that through a careful command of space before erupting into jagged string ostinati and swung drum strutting. Plush synths, including a reintroduction of the motif used at the start creep their way back into the piece in its quieter moments, and the enigmatic atmosphere that this corner of electronic music has become so deft at creating pervades throughout. I’d be remiss to not mention the Ourman feature on this track, especially given his status as a veteran on several notable labels, with an impressive catalogue in his own right.
Not wanting to close without a bang, 207 lights the fuse on one last offering: “Živ”. If my cursory look at Google translate is to be trusted this is Croatian for “Alive”, which is an accurate descriptor for an enlivening record. Perhaps the dirtiest of the four, “Živ’s” rustling chimes and twisted vocal/horn interplay become a sticking point throughout, alongside the tried-and-true combination of a busy rhythm section anchored by a monolithic bass. Stabbed vocals add some real sauce and it was around this point that I caught myself wondering how an MC might fare over it.
Koto is no less than what we have come to expect from White Peach: tight, thematically consistent and masterfully produced. With the label carving an influential niche in dance music spaces, 207 is a welcome addition to the fold, demonstrating on this record an excellent ear for eclectic and enigmatic bass music songwriting and production.
Posted on October 6, 2022