Ruffhouse: Demand / Division III

Bristol production trio Ruffhouse makes a strong impression with the follow-up to its debut single The Foot / Bypass, also on Ingredients. Nick Callaghan (aka Vega), Kristian Jabs (aka Pessimist), and Tom Cooper bring a shared love for drum'n'bass to the material, but rather than recycle existing genre tropes, the trio infuses the style with a forward-thinking sensibility that freshens it up it with smatterings of garage and bass music.

When the beat kicks in at the forty-second mark in “Demand,” it feels like a detonation, the bass drum's kick is so huge. Ruffhouse proceeds to embellish it with rapid-fire snare fills and shotgun accents, while all the while draping across it a shroud of foreboding gloom. Nominally drum'n'bass, the tune nevertheless distances itself from the style by twisting the raw groove into inverted shape and making it resemble some blistered form of sped-up garage as much as anything else. “Division III” is even heavier, an inspired head-turner that Photek would be proud to call his own. With a wall-shaking kick drum as the anchor, Ruffhouse liberally scatters all manner of percussive noises across the tune's relentlessly stabbing pulse, and, by the end, one is left wondering what kind of magic the trio might bring to a release longer than a twelve-minute single.

December 2012