Starting off with a generic bit of easy listening that sounds like an old Artificial Intelligence track circa 1992, "Traumatic Times" dissolves into a few chintzy bird chirps a minute later, followed by several surprising moments of silence before the drums fire up. With bongos buried deep in the mix, these drums are almost tribal. A cracking snare dominates, keeping time across a thick bed of shakers and cowbells while a watery melody ripples across the surface. Once the low-bottom bass kicks in, however, the track finally blooms into three-dimensions. This thing is about layers of physical sound: the rumbling subsonic, the sharp mid-range drums and the thin strands of melody fanning out like a web. Despite the track title, there's nothing very traumatic here. In fact, everything's almost too placid; even the chirping birds sound a little drugged. But it's a beautifully produced piece of ear candy nonetheless.
"Woodblock" cranks the energy level up considerably with a flight of knocking drums, an insistent shaker and, yes, woodblocks that argue with a squealing and buzzy acid-Nintendo melody. It's the electronic equivalent of a breakdown in some old jazz record when the brass players step aside to let the drummer go to town for four or five minutes. By the end, you've got sweat flying, hi-hats sizzling across the background and everybody's grinning and exhausted.
"Traumatic Times" and "Woodblock" not only meld features of nearly every electronic genre into something beyond dubstep, they draw upon different textures that create a surprising sense of depth. When you consider that LD is a sound engineer by day for Transition Studios, these tracks make perfect sense: there's an incredible attention to the spatial design of the song, with each element carefully polished and positioned. Give the melodies stronger teeth and a little more ambition and we might be hearing some instant-classic records soon.
Buy LD – Traumatic Times / Woodblock at
Tracklist: LD – Traumatic Times / Woodblock A Traumatic Times