The Corpus: Cult (Original Mix) / Cult (Sinistarr Remix)

Wagz: Exile / Zodiac

Two recent singles on Silent Dust's none60, both of them debut appearances by the artists involved on a label known for its discerning taste and high quality. The first's a two-track stormer midwifed into being by Sheffield producer Wagz, who's previously released material on Horizons, Mac II, Future Thinkin, and others, the second an original-remix combo from Lithuanian collective The Corpus with Sinistarr doing the makeover.

An atmospheric stepper of the first rank, Wagz's “Exile” uses dramatic synth figures to establish mood until a crisp neurofunk pulse kicks in at the minute-and-a-half mark. Spiked thereafter by a lovely little bass undertow, the tune wends its cinematic way for another three minutes, with breakdowns adding scenic rest-stops amidst the drum'n'bass thrust. Though the title of the B side's “Zodiac” seemingly references the elusive killer who surfaced during the late ‘60s in Northern California, the voice sample's opening lines, “I wanted to tell you I'm delighted that you've taken an interest in me / I know that you alone can understand what I'm becoming,” actually derive from Thomas Harris's Red Dragon. No matter: like “Exile,” “Zodiac” impresses as a seriously tight roller Wagz dresses up with spell-casting synth arpeggios and, even better, a low-slung bass pulse so deep it's positively subterranean. Can't argue with that.

The Corpus's “Cult” works no small amount of head-spinning magic into its taut five-minute frame, from the micro-voice fragments the group spins into dizzying earworms to wiry synth squalls and an equally slippery slo-funk groove; as if that's not enough, ambient textural details give the production a bit of a snuff film soundtrack vibe. In a tripped-out overhaul, Sinistarr lightens the mood by adding flute-like synths and amping up the percussive detail before stripping things down to a bare-boned swish. Further transformations are applied to the original's voice elements, with the stutterfied treatment of a woman's laugh threaded into the tune's see-sawing design. The point might be obvious, but it's worth noting how imaginatively both singles deviate from standard drum'n'bass conventions.

January 2018