Crime Wave EP
TBR: 16th March
Voitax Records welcome back Makaton with his second solo EP. Proving his establishment in the scene over and over with various incarnations of sound, this new release can be seen as an education in wave-design and harnessing of the rhythm. A household name for industrial and experimental techno fans in his home town of Birmingham and beyond, Steve Bailey aka Makaton has been in the club spotlight since the late 90s. He's played all over the world and enjoys a brilliant response at each set. Remaining unrivalled in many regards, Bailey's inspiration seems to come from the landscape of his industrialised home. Perhaps best known for his work with Rodz-Konez, a label that he created for his own sounds and now holds over 60 releases from many great names, the tip of the chisel can be found with this expertly made music.
The music begins with an instantly grabby bass and drum motif that plunges and flies all at once. Hard hitting tempo structure bounces on a glistening surface of frothy pads which convalesce in a bed of petal textures. A rip of bass then tears across the surface in a tidal blast of sound. From the opening left behind emerges a set of dribbling tom-toms. They push the rhythm forward in steady quick kicks that rumble and jitter across the static flow of bass and snare. The music evolves again, releases deep and throbbing bursts of heavy bass which gargle in a vocal-line of electronic distortion. Bruise Violet reaches down and presses the tender core of what others left behind with rhythmic salve.
Rise and Kill opens up with a steady bass beat. Its puncturing sound pushes up through the treble end from its tree-trunk root of strike. A twanging bass-pulse is added, it boils with tense energy that reverberates on steadily rising runs of cymbal. Minimal focus gives rise to a wave of buoyant synths which dance and tap on the quickly turning wheel beneath them. A new layer of percussion follows, catching the loose ends and knitting them into the fabric of sound. That bass manages to continue with its hypnotic pulse and underpins the track to a consistent groove. After a couple of passes, the bass is given a new dose of energy. Fluffy chords that reach deeply span outwards for a brief melee before that stitching beat is brought back into line.
On the B side, the music starts with another catchy bass and drum riff. It jigs along a bouncing line of bars in a consistent and mesmerizing loop. As it progresses, an injection of subtle tone is given at the precise moment to break another level of trance. Deep and metallic bass notes continue to plunge as snappy brush strokes on the snare give a rhythmic high. The treble end is brought down to almost zero which elevates the subtle sonics within the bass-line. As the cymbals and snare are gently released from their gated state, a new wave of energy is brought to the floor. Pre Language feels like a track best used in conjunction with something else, a great dancing beat perhaps for something originally more melodic.
Double Heart begins on a gently flowing synth melody that bubbles and fizzes with airy tones. A kick drum pushes the beat down with apt sonic clarity while a chuntering bass continues to lay out a distinctive vibe. Droning melodics soar like shooting-stars over mountain ranges poking through misty terrains. A continual evocation of melody formulates behind a curtain of consistent rhythm, allowing journeying and adventurous minimalism to sample areas of the scope build of sound. Ripples of walking bass take turns to dance in line with the head-space clearing symbiosis of cymbals and synth.
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Rowan Blair Colver for The Electro Review.