This Page

has moved to a new address:


Sorry for the inconvenience…

Redirection provided by Blogger to WordPress Migration Service
White Noise: Various Artists – Think And Change

Friday, 15 March 2013

Various Artists – Think And Change

Label: Nonplus

In 2011, two compilations nimbly took the stage to explore the current state of UK bass music. Hessle Audio’s 116 and Rising and Hotflush’s Back And 4th indulged in the delights of a nebulous scene where imagination and vision were valued just as much as the ability to make an all-out banger. Two years later, Boddika takes to his Nonplus imprint, no longer a fringe-DnB portal, to offer a fresh perspective on the scene: it’s deeper and darker, every producer fashioning their sounds in Nonplus’ trademark monochrome, yet despite frequent flashes of brilliance, seems to comment on a scene whose sound is beginning to homogenise.

For the DJs, Think And Change supplies a steady stream of involving, unconventional club tracks from a selection of huge names. Joy O turns in another typically excellent game-changer in the form of the facetiously titled Big Room Tech House DJ Tool – Tip!, where an enormous, hollow bassline echoes out over an earworm vocal and his familiar dusty, shuffling drum patterns. Further afield, Pearson Sound supplies a destructive percussive workout threaded through with quavering vocals and rebounding bass notes. Quivver has all the rhythmic complexity of his latest Clutch EP on Hessle, but with the welcome addition of a vocal hook and a showstopping second drop. Meanwhile Four Tet takes an uncharacteristically straight approach with his gorgeous For These Times, where his trademark addictive vocals and acoustic samples are suppressed by a harsh snare assault pulled off to perfection. Those listening to the digital edition will also receive four extra tracks including Boddika’s VIP of his storming Mercy collaboration with Joy Orbison, a rough assault on the senses with distorting synth accents and suffocated vocal clips.

Youtube Playlist of LP Clips

For all the style of its bangers, Think And Change perhaps impresses most with its more introspective additions to the canon. Endian’s Straight Intention is a winner, deeply atmospheric house with percussive and synth additions mutating over the slightly menacing bassline. Meanwhile Lowtec and reliable experimentalist Kassem Mosse turn out some intruiging noodles, with the former’s The Rhythm (Remix 2) offering a meditative selection of softened synthwork, while the latter turns out two of the EP’s highlights with the shimmering IP Mirrors that swings like glass shards glittering in the light, and the yet more impressive Broken Patterns where a tight techno drum progression is assailed by frayed synthwork and finely treated strings. The vinyl edition's closer comes in the form of Martyn's impressively minimal Bad Chicago, an understated finale where the devil is in the details: look out for the casual touch of reverb here, the simmering synth noodles there. Yet for all the forward-thinking music on this compilation, one of the most intriguing is also the song most rooted in Nonplus’ past, the Instra:mental and dBridge collaboration White Snares, long thought to be never see the light of day. As the only track on offer that steps out of the 120-130bpm bracket, it offers a lush piece of thoughtful, stirring atmospheric DnB that shows just how far the label has come since its inception.

The fact that the vast majority of these tracks are innovative and impressive doesn’t change the fact that they are mostly cast in the same hues and crafted with the same sound pallettes. When a few stray tracks fail, say, Boddika’s Beats Me which stagnates without any real musical progression or SCB’s predictable exercise in build-and-release Dissipate, one is reminded of just how derivative the genre can become when the producers aren’t really trying something new. At least in the bass scene’s early days the missteps were more likely to be intriguing experiments that didn’t quite work, rather than me-too operations that lack a killer ingredient.  Yet ultimately one can’t criticise Nonplus for having a darkened sound pallette, and the potential stagnation of the scene shouldn’t be transposed onto the label. Think And Change remains a stellar selection of tunes with only a few missteps, showcasing Boddika’s excellent prowess as an A&R man as well as a producer, as he drafts in a formidable selection of the scene’s best and brightest who do their best twist, challenge and reincarnate the darker fringes of the bass scene as we know it.


Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home