It sometimes feels like bass music is completely submerged in house and techno at this point, with artists from Loefah to Blawan to Joy Orbison more or less entirely in thrall to four-to-the-floor. It's refreshing, then, to hear 2013 kicking off with a nod to bass music's past—without sidestepping the major 4/4 overtures of the last few years. Beneath, a young British producer with a label called No Symbols and a well received doublepack last year on Martin Clark's Keysound label, makes music that sets the gloomy minimalism of early dubstep to the easy tempos of sounds that came later. His latest release, a two-tracker for Tectonic, serves as a succinct statement of purpose for the previously uninitiated. You're likely to hop on board very fast.
Beneath's compositions recall Shackleton's later work for Skull Disco, when his frenetic early sides slowed down without becoming a whole lot less frenetic. His sound, though, is from somewhere else entirely. "Duty" has the rhythmic playfulness and liquid bass of UK funky but absolutely none of the bombast. Where we'd expect to hear brash melody, we get only its chilly absence. "Texers" trades in melodic dissonance, and its drums respond in kind with agitated rolls and big snare hits. Neither side is anything like an anthem, but music this absorbing and refreshingly constructed feels like something worth rallying behind regardless.
Buy Beneath - Duty / Texers at
Tracklist: Beneath - Duty / Texers A Duty