For a while there I was worried that Drumcode was becoming complacent. With Air Rage, his first record for the Swedish label since last year's Smoke & Mirrors LP, Ben Sims proves otherwise. Mostly, it's a record which pursues the same consistent grooves that the imprint favours so highly, but with a few detours along the way. For instance, near the middle of "Move in Time," something like a grimy trance lead arcs suddenly overhead, briefly stealing the focus before Sims drops things heavily back into place. "The Parade" opts for a more lopsided cadence, stomping menacingly forward like a infantry column. 8-bit notes swarm over this foundation like bees on a hive, overwhelming with sheer numbers rather than individual power.
On the flip, "Machine Funk" sees Sims puts all his eggs in one basket, concentrating almost solely on a ringing, metallic sequence which is suspended halfway between melody and percussion. It's entrancing enough that the simplicity of the track's basic structure hardly registers. Last, the title track heaves with rage, positioning 4/4 bamboo-on-concrete claps under a taut, bassy synth. The former propels the track along, while the latter shreds it to pieces with furious intensity, shimmying through a lengthy sequence like a convulsing electrical wire. At its core, Air Rage isn't a major departure from Drumcode's canon. It's still extremely functional, extremely big room and somewhat anthemic. But by dint of Sims' unusual timbres, it's one of the label's most interesting singles from the past few years.
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Tracklist: Ben Sims - Air Rage A1 Move In Time
A2 The Parade
B1 Machine Funk
B2 Air Rage