Saturday, October 16, 2010

The AK review: TUBE10 009

From Fundamental:

Having first stumbled across this producer’s efforts on the cloud sometime back in late 2009 I was immediately taken by his versatile use of melody in creating brooding, lingering and spacious tracks.  With early productions seemingly far more sonically related to the bleak grey cityscapes of these rain nourished isles than his native sun drenched Texas State, VVV had tapped in to the emerging sound that would come to be called future garage as he continued his transatlantic sonic explorations.  Now no stranger to the pages here at Fundamental, or indeed to the release sheets of late, VVV steps up to the plate and delivers the latest installment in the quality Tube 10 series.  The list of artists to previously grace this ten inch specialist label reads like a who’s who of the past few years of bass music and Vertigo & Flames / Slacktide is a sure testament to the status of VVV in the cadre of producers pushing the sounds of future garage ever forward.
Vertigo & Flames, the A-side of this release, is a tasteful melodic builder set to a proper skippy garage beat of crisp high hats, a boomy kick drum and a classic sounding flat tight snare.  The intricate drum programming keeps the beat flowing smoothly throughout, dropping in occasional swooshes and squelches on a fully future garage tip.  As synth stabs and swells introduce the melody, delayed and dubbed out vocal snippets punctuate the proceedings adding to the melodic atmosphere.  Not quite full words or phrases but ooohs, ahhs and half words weaving in and out of the listener’s focus.  The level of effects and their use is pronounced but never overbearing and alongside a wash of icy background winds the track stands as a real display of the producing chops VVV has to offer.
Slacktide, on the B-side, drops the BPMs down a few notches taking on a more tribal and syncopated feel to the beat.  In line with the flip side, the vocals continue with the dubbed out regime but the thick synth chord stabs invoke a Dubtech sentiment while the bass line pushes some serious air through the bins.  Overall Slacktide is a somewhat more aggressive and brash sounding affair to Vertigo & Flames’ meandering melodic sensibilities and will surely find favour among the cavernous spaces where raves still get deep and dark.
These are interesting times for bass-centric music.  Perhaps never before have there been so many competing sub genres or emergent scenes.  Never before has so many producers’ output been so readily available to the dance conscious public.  But no matter how much music is out there, it always seems that some individuals encapsulate certain aesthetics with a vigour that others can only emulate.  To me, VVV is one of a small number of individuals who best describe what Future Garage is.  With this release on Tube 10, he continues to be one of a number of producers who keep me checking the sheets every week to see where the future is going.
Vertigo & Flames (TUBE10 009) is out now on Tube 10 on digital and 10′ vinyl.


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