Available on: R&S 12″
Blawan is a drummer. If you didn’t learn that from reading about him on the internet, you’ll figure it out soon enough from his tunes. There’s a certain spastic glee to the British producer’s misfit bass music, the kind of profound measured chaos that made him a perfect fit for the Hessle Audio roster where he debuted last year. But just like James Blake before him, Belgian techno label R&S – ever the sinister serpents lurking over the nests of embryonic UK bass superstars – has snatched up Blawan, and his debut EP for the label just about leaves an impact crater in its wake.
The Bohla EP is decidedly of a theme, and that theme is acid (which, incidentally, is proving weirdly trendy in 2011). Built from rambunctious, elastic rhythm tracks that whip, snap, and crash in all directions, they always land in a wonderfully satisfying thud even if not always in the exact place you’d expect. Blawan carves intricate veins of acid into his wooden percussive monoliths, and the corrosive bubbling courses violently and virulently through each track. ‘Kaz’ is the highlight, layering a winding acid melody over 2011’s most ecstatic drum track, nonchalantly splashing bits of neon poison everywhere – the kind of stuff that induces convulsions on a dancefloor.
The title track is the more playful counterpart, keeping the acid carefully below sea level and reigning in the drum freakout to a mostly determined (but still ferocious) head-banging loop. But Blawan really goes all out on ‘Lavender’, where the drums get all deadly serious and the squelch congeals into flaming sludge, as abrasive as any tearout wobblecore dubstep you could find nowadays. It’s that last point that’s the most intriguing about the release: Blawan channels so much energy and even aggression into these thrashing tracks, but they never feel overtly masculine, suffocating, or deafening. Rusko could learn a thing or two from this chap.