Seba: Nichoho / Sienna
Warm Communications

Zero T / LSB / Tokyo Prose / FD: Fourfit EP05

Two new drum'n'bass stormers from Seba (Swedish producer Sebastian Ahrenberg), whose return to Warm Communications is christened with a transparent red-and-white splatter twelve-inch release (digital, of course, also available). Ahrenberg certainly brings the thunder to “Nichoho,” which serves up yet another amen riff—talk about mileage—yet does so with such conviction you'll pardon any and all antecedent connections. With a thudding bass and roaring drum pulse the power source, the tune cuts a determined path through busy metropolises teeming with hazy synth textures and sensual female coos. More stepper than stormer, the flip's “Sienna” retains the A-side's fluttering synth features but now threads them into a blend of roving sub-bass and charging drums delivered at lightspeed. Seba's widescreen productions clearly don't lack for energy.

A satisfying complement to Seba's single is the fifth chapter in Soul:r's Fourfit EP series, this one featuring contributions from Zero T, LSB, Tokyo Prose, and FD. The twenty-two-minute installment from the Manchester-based label opens with “Piano Clap,” an excellent sampling of the kind of material included on Cian McCann's just-released Zero T full-length Golden Section (Dispatch Recordings). “Piano Clap” strikes an effective balance between atmosphere and animation, with the first minute devoted to ambient scene-painting and muscular rhythmning folded into the four that follow; in simplest terms, piano sprinkles and synth swirls abound, but so does a prototypical d'n'b gallop. On a slightly more pastoral tip, Tokyo Prose's (Aucklander Sam Reed) “Tell Me” exudes no small amount of sunlit radiance in the cycling electric piano motif, guitar shadings, and serenading vocal lines that grace its frontline. Comparatively tougher is “Hideaway” by LSB (Chelmsford, Essex homeboy Luke Beavon), a neurofunk-powered throwdown whose smooth, acoustic piano-textured presentation oozes class. The EP's a consistently solid affair, but if there's a standout it might well be FD's (Freddie Dixon) “Work It Out” for the way it blends the soulful acrobatics of Collette Warren into its jungle framework. Determining whether the cut's primary drawing card is Warren's agile vocalizing or Dixon's hypercharged groove is a tough call indeed.

November 2015