Artifact is from Bristol. He makes house. In 2012, I probably don't even need to write that last sentence. Like so many of the other house producers that seemed to pop out of the woodwork in the port city as of late (Hodge, Vessel, Julio Bashmore), Ryan Bonfield is pretty darn good at it too. Though he's had a few scattered releases here and there on rather obscure labels, his first single for new London imprint Deadplate feels like a proper arrival.
"Archaic Line" blends all sorts of influences into a knotted stepper: the sweaty snares and mumbled, chord progression scream Chicago but the LFO groans and array of little sound effects are Bristol circa 2012. Holding the whole thing down with a gooey, translucent chord that he stretches for most of the track's duration, "Archaic Line" strikes an odd mood between melancholic and manic. Graphics puts down a typically skittish take on the track, ratcheting up the percussion so it feels much faster (it's really not, hovering at the same 130 BPM tempo as the Artifact's originals). He doesn't re-imagine the track so much as readjust it, altering that dub techno smear so that it edges the rhythm and hammering that skip out into a simpler amble.
The flipside splatters a different ink smear onto the 130 picture: starting out like another yearning, ethereal number, "Deserted" drops with harsh, detuned, chord stabs that seem to alternately chase and terrorize a hypnotically swirling vocal sample. It's more violent than soulful, especially on the breakdown when it's just those threatening throbs and little else. Fairly monochrome but never mundane, this EP feels like one of those moments where an artist is finally realizing his potential all at once. With any luck, 2012 will feature plenty more of both Artifact and Deadplate records to come.
Buy Artifact - Archaic Line at
Tracklist: Artifact - Archaic Line A1 Archaic Lane
B Archaic Lane (Graphics Remix)