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White Noise: Arkist – Never Forgotten

Monday, 8 April 2013

Arkist – Never Forgotten

Label: Halocyan

Although Bristolian producer Arkist built quite a name for himself with the fizzing warmth of his 140bpm rollers, it’s been a couple of years since he’s released any standout material. The producer's best tracks have always tied authentic dance chops to likeable pop sensibilities, and now he’s taken to LA-based imprint Halocyan for his best release in years, bringing along a who’s-who of Bristol’s scene for the ride.

All of these tunes play with the skipping formula of garage, making each original cut a taut and propulsive affair. But Arkist has never been one to get too sombre, and on A-side Addict, a collaboration with Appleblim, a series of upbeat descending house chords cut a stark line through the syncopated percussion and boogie basslines. It’s a warm and effective opener, but the best this EP has to offer is nestled on the B-side. 

23 Summers

Arkist first comes up gold with 23 Summers, which could be seen as a follow-up to the producer’s classic Fill Your Coffee. It’s a big, generous helping of colourful synthwork, intoxicating vocal chops and huge bass bounces, guaranteed to bring out smiles in the crowd. These key elements are set in an intricate - but never dense - collage which pays out as much as it builds anticipation, thanks to the bubbling melody and the lush detail of the arrangement. For his final original piece, Iron Oxide, Arkist goes deeper, calling out to both breakbeat and his dubstep roots with a darkened stepper where only the echoes of that bright synthwork remains among the menacing bass throbs.

Remix duties are offered to another pair of Bristolians, the first being rising star Komon, who gives a housey rework of Addict. It’s an efficient track that adds a big 4/4 stomp and straightens out the synth work in the process, but it feels like it lacks the original’s flighty charm in the process. Dependable analog-fiend October offers a more impressive remix of 23 Summers, the original’s dayglo appeal swapped for a jackin’ mashup of acid stabs, ghostly vocal loops and an industrial-sized kick. It’s a healthy-sized package from Arkist with a few real standouts, hinting that the producer’s best work may still be ahead of him.


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