What with the Brainfeeder crew and Low End Theory parties, Los Angeles may seem like California's capital of dubstep and bass music, but there's also plenty going on in San Francisco at the moment. Both cities were fairly early adopters of the sound relative to other major US locations, each building up a healthy number of club nights and homegrown producers, and Warp have decided to follow on from their championing of Flying Lotus with a snapshot of California's second city of bass. Eskmo is the most experienced producer of the duo here, having already put his name to a number of drum & bass and breakbeat releases before making the jump to 140 BPM tracks. On "Lands & Bones" he teams up with San Franciscan singer/songwriter Swan Palermo for a slice of lurching melancholy that brings to mind both the brooding electronics of The Knife as well as Gemmy and Joker's kaleidoscopic synthesis. Often with tracks like this, the vocal can seem like somewhat of an afterthought, but Palermo's gliding tones seem to emphasise "Lands & Bones"' sedate half-time groove while Eskmo's multiple synth layers provide the necessary dynamic flux.
The sound of the "purple trinity" seems to have also struck quite a chord with Eprom, whose "Hendt" seems largely derivative of the material that Joker, Gemmy and Guido have issued over the past couple of years. The soft bed of synths that open up the track seem a lot more rich and delicately programmed than any of the trio's style, but by the time the meaty halfstep drums and bassline open out, we're firmly in Joker territory, with a few Zomby-esque wibbles and wobbles offsetting the purple pitch-shifts. It's an accomplished effort from the relative newcomer, and one that should largely satisfy fans of the aforementioned producers, but you get the feeling that he'll need to find his own sound to eventually stand out from the dubstep pack.
Buy Eprom / Eskmo - Hendt / Lands and Bones at
Tracklist: Eprom / Eskmo - Hendt / Lands and Bones A Eskmo feat. Swan - Lands & Bones
B Eprom - Hendt