Arguably there’s no greater highlight as to what’s new and exciting in music than the Neosignal podcast, whose seventh edition we witnessed this week: But not only does it incorporate once more a creme de la creme selection of producers and tunes, it may as well be heard as compendium to modern day bass music. And given that I willingly put myself to listen to almost everything that dnb producers come up with, I took the liberty of extracting a few of the most simple and yet most powerful tricks featured on Phace’s magnificent selection, which I’d hereby like to share for the improvement of your music and my job.
1. Use reverb-automations to quickly open and close rooms like for instance Rockwell does in his Planet Online remix (especially at 3:29 of the Podcast) or Phace & Misanthrop in their take on BSE’s B Negative (starting around 13:20; you’ll also find this reverberation of melodies in lots of older Black Sun Empire tunes). It instantly adds a whole new layer of depth to a tune and consequently a whole new layer of interest.
2. Don’t keep your panning all steady, again use simple automations to vary it and get much more width in a track. Noisia and Evol Intent set a pretty good example with their forthcoming monster The Liquid (10:22), where the first two strokes are way more out than the rest of the pattern. A stunning and very plain example of this technique applied to the mids is also found in Noisia and Phace’s Sore Point (around 1:29 where the main bass kicks in).
3. A little silence here and there makes a tune much sexier. It doesn’t need to go all the way like in Apex’ classic Nowhere to Run, but Mefjus rather blazing remix of Sequenz (at 15:13) gives a pretty good impression how the ears can cope with way more madness if they are allowed just a few milliseconds recovery time every now and then.
4. Keep everything oscillating. Be it just the slightest alteration of a recurring snare (like Maelstrom show with The Line starting at 31:59; alteration of at least every third snare in a two bar phrase should be standard), a trifle quieter kick, a millisecond off-beat or a millimetrical turn of a synthie knob: Objects in motion attract attention, stasis evokes boredom.
5. Do weird stuff. Make awkward sounds. Examples for this are found all over the podcast, all over good music in fact. That’s its beauty, and that’s the essence of progression.
I hope these advices are useful in one way or the other. They may not be exactly new or unknown, but from my listening experience it seems sensible to revisit them from time to time. However, if you’re not a producer sorry for wasting your time. Here’s what you actually came for:
Audio on Blackout – that spells trouble; and indeed, Bag of Bones is a wonderfully slaughterous EP full of bass havoc, drum shell shock and the best b-movie quotes of the year. Taking up the baton axe just where he dropped it, Audio doesn’t waste any time (-when did he ever?-) to take us directly into the deliciously psychotic proceedings of the opening title track, whose flickering wall of synths is guaranteed to cause some serious stir in your body, and whose eerie melodies like sad clown’s marimba etudes might even leave the one or other mark on your mind. The following Beacon with its groovy edge, compelling drumwork and rolling basses too is another fine step in the direction last year’s album Soulmagnet took. The third track, the rocking Ruffneck, is primarily driven by its weird melody that’s almost subtly interlaced with jazzy fills – another asset we’ve grown to love in Audio’s output, does it not only thwart the usually quite manic urge his tunes are fuelled with with a little laid-back feel, it also seems to enhance their whole scope with that knowing nod of funk and sexiness. (A nod some of his tracks are in dire need of.) The concluding song is called Blackhole; a title with which my affection to appropriate nomenclature is deeply pleased: for not even light could escape the loose heavyweight pounding and avalanche-style subs that float around this lesson in massiveness. Consequently the EP collapses with this tune, but if you’re alive to tell the tale, tell a DJ of your trust. He’ll definitely want to know.
Audio – Bag of Bones (Blackout Music)
Also we have Maztek this week with two new and proper bangers on Dutty Audio: The first features MC Nuclear on What We Bring, and what this duo furnishes is nothing but a quality load of sticky bass high-fat and dancing drums of a memorable agitation level. On the flip there’s Caph, and from the lush kicks to those quickly passing whip-whups you’ll find just about every classic Maztek move incorporated in this solid stomper. The single is rounded off with an instrumental version of What We Bring, and not only admirers of dutty Italian neurofunk should consider this release, but actually everyone who likes his/her legs shaken and belly massaged by some giant, fresh and funky air vibrations. And who doesn’t?