London's Stray has been one of the UK's mostly quietly exciting newcomers in drum & bass, breaking all the rules of the genre with casual aplomb. Mostly associated with Kasra's Critical imprint, he makes his debut on Texas outpost Warm Communications, and true to form he provides us with two frayed, wit's-end takes on minimal-leaning drum & bass.
"The Pursuit" packs the same time-stretched impact as Stray staples like "Timbre," with percussive elements so uncontrollably jittery they sound as if they're scurrying across the stereo spectrum like roaches. The bassline burrows threateningly underneath, occasionally releasing pressure via the tease of a hurtling amen break. It's far from an unusual device in drum & bass, but in Stray's ultra-controlled hands—and in such tight, tense confines—it might as well be brand new. The flipside "Poison" is a collaboration with fellow Londoner Halogenix, unspooling with every bar, the inversion of the A-side's clenched fists. The drums cough and sputter, and with sampled vocal barks shoved in between, the whole thing has a house-of-mirrors effect. Unpredictable is what we've come to expect from Stray, and with one solid floor tune and one head-scratcher, Pursuit offers yet another mystifying, sometimes confusing glance into one of drum & bass's most underappreciated minds.
Buy Stray & Halogenix - Poison at
Tracklist: Stray & Halogenix - Poison A Stray - The Pursuit
B Stray and Halogenix - Poison