Street Justice EP
Ten Trax Records
TBR: 5th April
The Memphis electronic music scene gets its own record label in the form of Ten Trax. This brand new imprint for quality underground dance aims to highlight the ultimate level of skills being nurtured in this southern states part of the world. With a goal to highlight the talents and hard work of lesser known music makers, Ten Trax are reshuffling the pack and finding that many great acts are hiding among the aces. Ethically, the label wants to make the party better via the use of heavy beats and brilliant composition. This six track entry makes full use of their idea and puts it into practice. Combined with a provocative front cover, guaranteed to glean reactions, this EP is made by music people for all people.
Opening with wandering tones and a vocal line, a cracking drum breaks in and begins to pulse. A sneaky rhythm with a heavy bass penetrates the tune and puts it all into perspective. Fast paced hats crackle over the top on a layer of their own and the vocal starts to churn. Focus by Tanglewood Boyz makes full use of a driving energy and attitude laden lyrics about life. It's got a rough edge like a band-saw, as the music rotates in our ears, the teeth grab and nestle in our memory. It's sporadic and effective, garbled synthetic tones and drums create a dynamic knotted avenue of moving sound. The vocal remains permanent and repetitive, maintaining a consistency and drive that threads through the whole piece.
Next up is an electro beat comprised of subtle kick bass and an industrial effect. It's matched by striking hats and a new layering of bassline comprised of various tones and sounds. Vocals on the undercurrent swell and warble like viscous mud effervescing at the bottom of a lagoon. Steady and buoyant bass strikes a dancing pace, drums crumble over in portions administered by an out of reach DJ. The bass evolves to become elastic, a bouncy vibrancy hastens to fill the empty spaces. As the track progresses, the formulaic bending increases in factor to eventually create a ball of rubbery pitches. Once again, a consistency in the vocal line pushes through like a skewer of steadiness. Balls Deep by Will Azada throws gut-wrenching sub at us via experimental and snappy rhythms.
Third track is SCREAM by NRVVS. It begins on a swell of amplitude. Maniac synth melody and hard hitting drums build into a wall of danceable sound. Soon, a new layering of hats is injected to form a new wave of vibrant energy to the already fast moving flow. Space-age twisting howls streak across the sky while the disjoined and jilted melody makes its way over the spiky mountaintops of morphed sound. Steady thuds of bass act like a heart beat while the spiralling and swooping composition of synthesiser and sample bring an almost kite like acrobatic to the top end. Miniature breaks and run downs on the drumming allow for expression and subtle shifts in the direction of the tune.
Massive and twisted drums open the cue for the next number, Alepurr. Electronic bass tones splurge over in generous clumps of sound before a shimmering ceiling illuminates in melody. Glistening pads adorn the sky like sheets of freshly woven silk while distant bells and abnormal sounds reverberate from the horizons. With the lightest of touches, the drums span epochs with the use of heavy handed spaciousness. Drum and bass elements run through this track by Ben Bauermeister. Next is Walk by z72.52. With a splash of almost nonsensical drums and a hollering vocal line, the music opens like a shaken can of drink. Piercing inflections of sound combine with a now steady and surging rhythm to bring a pin-point feel to this kinetic number.
Finishing on Free Mike by Michael Kuntzman, we're adorned with a sonic experience of horn like melody. Fluttering synths and subtle drums break through, and as the force increases, a tear is made in the fabric to allow for harder beats and a steady flow of electronic bass. Fast paced and frantic percussive tones merge with the slow moving swing of wind instrument like chortles now distant and pinned back by the regulatory rhythm. Bubbling sounds spill out, echoes and strange vocal expressivism curdle into a new cyberbass progression. Drums are added again, the spooky and ethereal feel of this final number takes us into the gloomiest of social events. When the lights are low and the music is good, people can really be themselves.
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Rowan Blair Colver for the Homunculus Media Group
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