London's Jim Coles has been operating as Om Unit for two years now, recklessly tip-toeing across boundaries and releasing some of the most jittery and colourful bass music this side of Machinedrum (a known co-conspirator). His third EP for Civil Music Aeolian is his largest-scale yet at five tracks. The opener "Ulysses" owes a lot to Kuedo, heaving with a seasick grandiosity and armed with a synth orchestra climaxing over a slurry of Lex Luger hi-hats. LA producer Sweatson Klank—formerly Take—suspends the track's organ riff and makes a high-octane throbber out of it, while Reso goes drumfunk, chopping up breaks with aplomb before diving head-first into jungle territory for a fierce finale.
The moodily theatrical strains of "Ulysses" continue for the rest of the EP. "Slowfast Matrix" is Aeolian's most distinctive cut, yet the one that recalls drum & bass the most, with rolling basslines and more of those foreboding melodies set in place by dubstep-leaning imploding snares. Meanwhile, "Dark Sunrise" is a burned-out techstep growler, turning a vocal from Tamara Blessa into an urgent, militarist call. He teams up with Kromestar (who himself has been a bit of a space cadet lately) for the noodly funk of "Lightworkers Call," synths unspooling like ribbons of silk, and slows things down for the shimmering but unremarkable hip-hop vignette "Fumes," skewered with a quivering dub bassline. At every turn he's combining tangents at Aeolian, and it's an impressive package—impeccably produced—even if sometimes it feels like he's playing the "what producer can I imitate next" game.
Buy Om Unit - Aeolian at
Tracklist: Om Unit - Aeolian A1 Ulysses
A2 Dark Sunrise feat. TamaraBlessa
B1 Lightworkers Call feat. Kromestar
B2 Slowfast Matrix
Digital: Ulysses (Sweatson Klank Remix)
Digital: Ulysses (Reso remix)