I can’t say I had heard of these Demand mini-comps before today, but after listening to Demand Selects #5 I’m clambering to find the other four. D’N’B is currently in a dichotomous space between its slowly retrograding pulse into the future and its deep lament in the past. Artists like Blocks & Escher and Homemade Weapons use breaks to hyper-modern effect, whilst other modernists like Signal are creating unreal sound-scapes with pure electronics, this EP seeks to finds a common ground amongst the bass ridden carnage. Featuring tracks from Grey Code, Wingz, Skylark and Owneath this EP is packed full of unique sounds, identities and ideas as well as the standardized unit of reference needed to slip perfectly into the current scene.
The first track from Grey Code –Making Marks is as previously mentioned fairly derivative of homemade weapons, blocks & Escher as well as other players in the DNB/half-step Dub game, featuring great atmospheric density, clattering strains of break and deep resounding kicks, clicks and cheeky snares. it however does reach into a unique place as it moves through its various stanzas. Its huge horns in the into sound an armies charge into another world. Triplet rims and other crazy things seem to bubble over as this track moves along in an endless deepness. My favourite part about this track is the filtered atmosphere that shreds through the background; it adds a terrifying scape to the song and creates a huge space for various neck tingles to spasm about in.
The next song by Wingz is as dark as it is fun, Confined though possessing a similar timbre to Making marks has a much different dynamic, it is far more fluid and of the DNB standardized rolling effect. It features in its intro a sample I’ve searched for for ages that jungle bird sound that’s in every house track ever, along with great production and clever samples this song makes for an enjoyable and steady listen. Would you of believed 10 years ago that dub and D’N’B would fuse together and begin to sound like this? I can scarcely believe the technical potential of bass music these days.
Next up is Grey Code again, this time on the fluttering, slightly less intimidating Echelon alongside Skylark. This song is unbelievably well produced, like for real, it sounds amazing, I worry there is slightly more going on than comes through on only a small amount of listens but it is great none the less. It has a great use of space and a delicate insistent vibe to it, though I feel it doesn’t really possess anything that would grab you and make you listen to it over and over. It’s quite content to liaise deep in the back of your mind and caress your head secretly with its creeping bliss. My final words on this song are, that rim/snare is fucking perfect and they should be well happy with that.
Finally we have Owneath with Thousand Suns which takes a far more aggressive approach from the outset. Instantly playing on far more dubby influences than its counterparts, the other three could have been by the same producer, Thousand Suns definitely sits apart. If you like TMSV et al. you’re going to eat this shit up, it’s deep, steady and disjointed. It again has subtle use of breaks and atmosphere but unlike the others has the soundscape of a factory floor. Pulsing, noise ridden motifs sculpt and bend brutalist forms.
This DNB record which I would deem more “Neuro-Dub” is brilliant, with a true depth to every song, staggering atmospheres and great production. It’s a testament to the production driven drum &bass world and doesn’t seek only to force good production value but something more creative dare I say ‘artistic’ than the purely hype driven forerunners.