Philth: Your Love / Souzou
Dispatch Recordings

Safire and Amoss / Gamma: 4th State (Icicle Remix) / 2012 / Chavland
Plasma Audio

UK producer Phil Robinson aka Philth characterizes his music as “drum'n'bass from the deep end,” and this new two-tracker for Dispatch certainly lives up to that billing. Robinson aspires to do more than simply create a powerful beat pattern and, in the release's opening cut in particular, reaches that goal. “Your Love” is the standout, a blissful, six-minute dynamo that distills all of the producer's strengths into a single creation. Its crushing neurofunk beat is heavy in the best way possible, but the tune's warmed by a female singer's ethereal croon and sweetened with atmospheric washes that in combination take the material to an almost symphonic place. Exhibiting a deft command of both mood and rhythm, Robinson pushes beyond straight-up beatsmithing by alternating between beatcentric passages and ambient ones more akin to beatific bliss. The second cut's “Souzou” title and field recording drizzle conjure the image of a rain-soaked Japanese setting, but Robinson rapidly shifts the focus from that scene-setting intro to a powerful beat design that snarls and growls with serious intent. Amplifying the attack, traces of jungle surface as well to deepen the lethal vibe as the material writhes like some dying creature. It's a compelling creation, for sure, but it's also one that can't help but seem secondary to “Your Love.”

Also making some beautiful noise is the upstart label Plasma Audio whose debut release features a remix from Dutch drum'n'bass producer Icicle (Jeroen Snik) of “4th State” by Safire (Melbourne-based producer Ben Finocchiaro) and Amoss (Andrew Tweedale and James Evans), as well as two cuts by Gamma. The opening salvo “4th State” thunders with Prodigy-like intent, and invites the reference even more once Gusto's hellacious MC contribution makes its appearance; you could be forgiven for thinking of “Firestarter” once the vocal ride begins and the punishing synth stabs take over. With its four furious minutes having been spoken for, the focus shifts to “2012” and “Chavland,” the two less crushing than “4th State” but compelling on their own terms. With a distorted, grime-soaked vocal growl in tow, “2012” digs into its trippy glitchtronic vibe and future-funk groove with serious headnodding purpose, before “Chavland” rolls out a muscular, high-velocity neurofunk pulse to re-establish the release's drum'n'bass character.

February 2014