xxxy / Ike Release: infra12002

By , May 12 2010

Available on: Infrasonics 12″
Stream samples here

Infrasonics label head spatial constructed an elegant and impressive mix for FACT earlier this year, a fluid melding of dubstep, techno, house, garage, and everything else, one with an ear and feeling equalled by few others operating in the same ill-defined genre nexus.  The releases on his label – at first his own tunes only, and now in the midst of a series of split EPs – feel like the building blocks to that sort of alchemy; sparse, reduced bangers with interlocking connectors, ripe for blending and layering.

That comment is not to take away from these tracks and the way they’re presented is splendid in all their bare glory. Manchester’s xxxy helms the first half of the EP, ‘Blue Flashing Lights’ splashing powerful Funky percussion loops with glints of 8-bit grit, a nod to recent producers using the distinctive sound as the backbone of new movements in both dubstep and grime. Picking up steam as it rolls along, heavy sub-bass floats in like ominous fog while xxxy lets loose more samples, including something that sounds like a mercilessly manipulated Terror Danjah drop. For his other track here, ‘Know You’, he comes up with something a little more defined, all luxurious chords and super clean drums as new layers are delicately folded in. When the track breaks out into mad skank mode for a few bars, it’s an unnecessary victory lap [wtf? this is the best bit – Ed] that makes the resurgence of those chords when the track recedes back into its previous groove more powerful. ‘Know You’ is one of those should-be anthems that doesn’t necessarily break the mould, but is just so words-don’t-matter perfect at what it does it’s hard not to get excited when it comes into earshot.

If xxxy’s compositions are fun and inviting, infrasonics cohort Ike Release’s are austere and serious, dealing with the same palette but in a different context: ‘Iridescent’ juggles woodblock-y percussion a la Mount Kimbie, doling out smooth obsidian chords around snatches of vocals. The faster ‘Nature Manipulation’ is colour-inverted dubstep; dubby dread hits turned into sheets of stark white as the kicks and snares joyfully pound away. With this EP in the bag, an already formidable back catalogue and a new single on the way featuring more house reductions from Jamie Grind and Gon, Infrasonics continues to prove itself as a label that trades in sleek, sexy bass music that is as implacable as it is irresistible.

Andrew Ryce

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