Logics ft Kodin: Knock Knock
Seba & Jr Vallo: -15 / Bon Voyage
As with any genre, innovators find ways to stretch the form into arresting new shapes, and drum'n'bass producers are no different. These three recent EPs see the artists involved adding fresh twists to the form, with the material in one case impressing as especially radical.
Up first is Seba, aka Sebastian Ahrenberg, the Swedish producer whose work has been featured in textura's pages a number of times. Issued on his own Secret Operations label, the two-track single features Seba teaming up with JR Vallo, real name Patrik Valousek. The release is largely in the tradition, so to speak, but there's no denying the tunes hit hard. Written during the bitter cold of the Swedish winter, “-15” kicks off with a prototypical Seba groove, all lush synth atmospherics and aggressive breaks, until a female voice yelps “Take it away” to open the bass-throbbing floodgates; a well-timed breakdown allows the cut's cinematic dimension to come to the fore before the heavy groove roars back in to ease the tune out. Atmospheric also is “Bon Voyage,” which opens in contemplative mode with Ahrenberg and Valousek crafting a silken intro that's soon joined by a storming, electro-tinged beat. There's fury aplenty, but the two pilot the material with steady hands and elevate it with a bright melodic hook, punchy drum fills, and swirling vocal textures. Par for the Seba course, the single impresses for its high quality and sophistication.
Croatian-based Danijel Zinic (aka Logics) scores a strong two out of three on his first solo EP for Delta9 Recordings; interestingly, it's the track with fellow Croatian drum'n'bass producer Kodin (Dinko Filipovic), “Ratio,” that impresses least. The bass drum in “Knock, Knock” hits with the force of a hammer blow, and the snare is no less lethal. Though the tune focuses primarily on its rolling groove, it doesn't suffer from a modicum of melodic detail when its mechanoid textures, unearthly growls, and scrapes are so captivating. While its sound design is also arresting too, “Ratio” is weakened by being overly repetitive, and the monotone utterance of the title grows wearying when it too is used to excess. Thankfully, “Shield,” the release's other solo Logics production, rights the ship with another exercise in slow dazzle, this one four-and-a-half minutes of snaking, technoid low-end packed with ear-catching production effects.The Seba and Logics releases have much to recommend them, but it's the second outing on Silent Dust's none60 label by Londoner Oliver Yorke that's the real head-turner. “Wanderer” sweeps in with foreboding atmospherics, after which a spiraling beat pulse appears, the heaviness of the production inviting comparison to breakcore. That's not all: a subsequent segue sees the material flirting with jungle, until a quiet, mid-song interlude clears the way for one final go-round in beat science. The flip's “Not Giving Up” brings Silent Dust aboard for an even headier genre-bender, this one bringing a soulful vocal, trap beat, and dynamically funky jungle pattern together like it's the most natural thing in the world. A word like stunning doesn't quite do such material justice.