Substantial Audio 002: Repulsion

Joshua Philpot aka Repulsion, based in Oklahoma, United States, describes his sound as left field, dabbling in everything from dubstep to lo-fi. Much of the intrigue around his productions comes from his experimental nature, as a lot of his tracks kind of float between genres. Many producers are content with creating instrumental beats, but not Joshua, with a tendency to add his own vocals to the mix such as in his debut solo album Wifey. (2016)

Repulsion has returned with a perhaps more identifiable project in the form of his Repulsion EP. dubstep is the main focus with this one, released on Substantial Audio, a UK based label that was founded in 2014. (Repulsion featured on their first release with a remix, alongside Guesswerk and Mr Mud


The opening track Agreement is a minimal journey through a sonic jungle that doesn’t disappoint. Eerie atmospheric sounds float around the spine of the track that is the drums, whilst a rolling sub-bass adds the necessities in weight. During the second half, we’re introduced to some tribal percussion, lifting the energy up a notch before the madness ensues in the following track.

Easy On The Syrup is a much more dance floor orientated track, it feels reminiscent somewhat of the legend Skream, with the mix of melodic synth stabs that feel straight out of the 90’s and a screw face bass line. Compared to the previous song where the drums felt like the backbone, the focus on this is steered towards the relentless bass sounds, as the drums accompany the bass nicely, maintaining the upbeat flow through the use of shakers and a flurry of open hi-hats. Oh, and I can’t leave out the big ‘in your face’ snares because they feel like a key component to the track as it progresses, sending you back to that 2005/6 era of dubstep.

Sector C begins with a sampled automated train message from what I believe to be the game Half-Life 2, the use of these vocals adds a sense of the unknown and sets off the mood in a spooky direction. The tribal element of Agreement returns with a catchy sequence of toms, yet the track maintains quite an industrial feel overall. Delayed snares, mechanical FX and the deep-but-gritty bass line all contribute to what feels like the soundtrack to bizarre, but positive, gaming experience. The use of the game samples yet again shows proof of Joshua’s willingness to experiment and it pays off here.

The final track Seekers opens up with yet more creepy ambient sounds, a regular occurrence throughout the EP, but quickly transforms as the drums arrive and build up a sense of suspense. Before you know it, the drum’s drop out again as a series of ‘wobble’ bass sounds appear abruptly as the ambience disintegrates into some classic dubstep madness. Not for good, though, as it returns in the breakdown to build up for the second drop, along with some clever use of percussion, before morphing into a ruthless mid-range assault.

The Repulsion EP is an enjoyable listen that I’d recommend to anyone who’s into dubstep. I can see Easy On The Syrup and Seekers being the stand out tracks for most, however, I’d have to say Sector C was my favourite because of its unique soundscape and game soundtrack type of feel. All of the above, though, would slide in nicely to most sets/mixes. Joshua has proved again why he is someone to keep an eye on in the production world, he likes to the push the boundaries of sound in terms of what’s regarded as ‘normal’ and venture down new paths where others dare not to travel.

Buy the Repulsion EP here.