Batty Bass Records
TBR: 11th February
Experimental dance music is Batty Bass's forte, and what better than to release this rave techno inspired EP from the DJ and producer Hannah Holland. Her celestial back-catalogue of influences spans several generations of genre, and they all get a look in as she creates her own unique sounds. Hannah Holland knows all about the comfy and sweaty atmosphere found in late night basement techno and rave clubs, she's been in the crowd at plenty of parties and behind the decks at several more. It's as if she's making music for herself and it just so happens lots of other people like it too. Genuine musicianship like this deserves to be remembered.
The EP begins with a vocal sample and a breathy synthesiser. It slams us in the ears with something pleasant, so at first we're startled into listening and then almost with immediate effect, we allow the sounds to flow in our minds. Catching rhythms on drums thrown in at various angles merge with the backdrop of melody, which then shifts from one aspect to another without looking back. Street Person links together many forms of groove and dance inspiration via a consistent tempo which, like the backdrop, is in continual motion of delivery. Chunky bass and driving percussion bring the music home straight away.
Title track Mutualism takes the number two spot on the running order. It starts off more progressively than the initial opener. Shadowy beats with compressed elements hurtle along the floor and they're greeted by Boards of Canada (get the t-shirt) style atmospherics that dress them like loosely fitting linen. Soon, a stuttering bass and blip melody enters the scene, and they're soon accompanied by a frantic cymbal bash rhythm that adds sparkle and colour to the already varied palette. Drifting bells begin to carve a notch in the sound, making room for themselves and shifting everything else over to the edges. Then more retrotastic synthesiser tones curdle over the top in streams of twisting melody while stodgy bass tones fill out the floor with social encouragement.
Melodic percussion makes up the introduction for Artist. This third track is again brought into being gently, as the drums spell out a repeating phrase. New vocal samples flutter in on gentle wings before a progression in the drums brings out a shining beat on more traditional sounding instruments. Flurries of sound swing across on vines of key, and in the sky a host of chiming colours spread out in aerial acrobatics. Impressive combinations of instrument, beat, and sound-effect bring on a jungle of delicious and enjoyable sounds. The track evolves to accommodate more tones and melodies which all seem to suit the heart of the piece. It's in there somewhere, behind the immense orchestra of beauty.
Joyce Muniz takes hold of the controls to give us a rendition of the previous track, Artist, from a new perspective. She's adapted the delivery to suit an electronic music crowd who appreciate stripped down beats and intellectual waveforms. Driving bass and cracking drum fills bring about a hard edge to sky-facing synths which soar overhead. Drawing out each section in repetitive yet progressive bars, the track is extended and made more dance compatible than it was before. A key thing to consider is that although it's the same track as the one before, the remix creates a completely new experience. This allows the EP to form a mirror image of itself down the middle.
The Alinka remix of Mutualism starts on a quickly moving drum which continues the theme of retro-progressive keyboards. Soon this all boils down into a static bass rhythm that pounds away until something breaks open. New lights of digital worming tones spew from the open cracks in the sonic egg that's been laid for us. Jerking rhythms with quick stepping bass-lines revolve around a continually shifting sand of melody. Springy notes drift along in the treetops while cutting and harsh synthesiser tones splice through the spongy textures. Massive dancing beats keep emerging from the spiralling sounds which drift away from the core in comfortable and experimental tangents.
To finish, a remix of Street Person is offered up by Carry Nation, a name borrowed from a century old female icon who preached the prohibition of alcohol. It takes us in gently, with smooth keyboards revealing a slinky melody and rhythm. Soon a flurry of blippy tones begin to dance like raindrops over a brick sculpture, each level manifesting in various related notes. Casual drumming makes an appearance following some affirming vocal sample work, and soon all the elements of the track are brought in to party with each other. The combination of direction is a fantastic way to finish off this splendid EP.
Follow Hannah Holland on Soundcloud
Rowan Blair Colver for the Homunculus Media Group
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