Monday, 22 June 2015

Various Artists 'Subtextures' Review

Artist: Various

Title: Subtextures

Label: Interchill

Released: 15th June

Following on from their 2013 compilation 'Depth Charge' Interchill's Naasko compiles a selection deep & atmospheric hybrids from the U.K., Canada, U.S.A. and Australia featuring elements of dub-step, dub-tech , jazz and electronica with one thing in common … bass! What appeals to me about this compilation is that it reaches into areas I personally felt had run their course and is a healthy reminder that by doing so I'm missing out on some really good music.

The release begins with 'Atonement' by Biome where the soulful vocal stabs and deep synth sounds bring early LTJ Bukem to mind, although the drumwork is far slower. The next track 'Pacific' by Geode is almost the opposite of Bukem with rapid sequences and vocal stabs over deep speaker shaking bass. While Jafu's 'All Clear' could also draw comparision to a slower form of drum & bass but with more laid back Jazz elements.

HxdB vs Daega Sound's 'Spheroid' continues with the trend of Jazz fusion with a repeated funky male vocal hook and atmospheric touches. After which Daega Sound fly solo with an alluring pitter-patter drum loop intro slowly introducing bleeps, glitches, reverb and vocal samples in a series of crescendo's and drops with effective results. While IMRSV's 'Zenote' is a deeply atmospheric piece with some lovely tribal drum rolls.

Dubsworth's 'Circular Reason' moves away from the previous tracks more into the direction of dub in terms of both the vocal samples and musical production bringing elements of the past right into the present with no injustice what-so-ever. Trashbat's 'Tibet' as the title suggests fuses the soothing flutes and guzheng (Chinese harp) of the orient with soulful vocal samples and a dubby bassline. The mood then switches back to a slow jazzy feel with summery acoustics and a contrasting slow and deep bass on Gyu's 'Cabasa'.

There's a classical feel and haunting mood to the synth intro of Sepia's 'Shakra' before the low growling bass is employed. While Congi's 'Pieces of' contrasts melodic keys and soulful vocals with deep distorted bass. Whereas ROwL's 'Aikido' takes a distinctively dubby journey with a lot of focus on the drum patterns behind the synth and vocal voices.

Matt Deco continues the dubby trend with his deeply atmospheric 'Boom Bap' and Commit brings the album to a close with an elongated and quiet intro before dropping the lush dub-tech main body of 'Atlantis'.

Review by Woodzee.

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