IFS005: Sub Basics (Review)

Infernal Sounds, previously an unofficial promotional outfit, have made big steps since turning to official promotion and transforming into a record label in their own right. The label’s intentions were clear from the first release which featured the highly rated New Zealand based duo Perverse. A second release followed swiftly with the UK’s own Sepia. Infernal Sounds have continued making positive noise in the scene with additional vinyl releases from the likes of CausaShu and Von D. The most recent project to drop, number five, is from Sub Basics. It has already sold out on their bandcamp page and that’s no surprise after taking a listen to the 2-track vinyl release (It also comes with a digital bonus track). 

The A side, titled Horus, begins with haunting, distorted bass sounds that are drenched in reverb and delays, with a couple of hi-hats combining to create a great flow from the start. The distorted sounds gradually edge closer before dropping away into the murky underworld that the listener is thrust into at the moment of the drop. The rhythm of the hi-hats really glues this track together with a nice contrast to the extremely weighty sub bass and a pleasing snare/hat combo that varies in combination. Horus features great dynamic range and is quite addictive, triggering memories of old school Dubstep throughout.

Cartel had a lot to live up to after the A side, but Sub Basics doesn’t disappoint in the slightest with another amazing track for the B side. Much like Horus, Cartel starts with an atmospheric introduction commanded and driven by rhythmic, closed hi-hats. I didn’t think it would be possible to top the first track but Cartel might just do it. The various patterns and automation of the bass sounds are a constant high point, with crafty percussion that continuously cuts through the low end at all the right moments.

The digital bonus track Northern Lights is a slightly more ambient, minimal journey, whilst maintaining a seriously weighty bass – which is obviously a real strength of Sub Basics production skills. It was a great to hear the mix of ambient pads with his signature sub bass and a slightly more – what feels like – garaged influenced track. Sub Basics has produced two brilliant tracks that I’m severely upset I didn’t manage to get my hands on and another interesting digital-only bonus track that offers a slightly different vibe from the physical format.

Yet again, Infernal Sounds have shown why they’re a label to watch with the artists they put forward and next time they or Sub Basics release a project, I’m going to make sure I don’t miss the physical release. If you are interested in the physical like me, there is still an edition available that comes with the new Infernal Sounds slip mats, available here.