Break science and beyond from the Brighton producer.
Ups & Downs, a full-length that compiles material from the last four years, shows there's more to Brashill's sound than break science. Take "The Siren," where staggered, zapping kicks and deathly snare reverbs sound over sinister drones and wails. (Once the groove locks in, it has the half-step lurch of dubstep and the swagger of UK funky.) On the atmospheric "Hope For The Worst," angelic synth chords drench the foreground, with the drums left to rage in the distance. "Fluid" and "Outsider" wind down the LP with sombre strains of garage and dubstep. The shorter tracks are more freeform, from the avant-eski "Ice Climbers In Flatland" to "Shine On (Zero Gravity Mix)," which hovers like the teasing intro to a junglist epic.
Brashill's drum-focused tracks are equally nimble. "Groove Control"'s airy pads and sweet sample ("Ooh, I'm in heaven") contrast with rugged break chops and a wriggling sub line. "Snell's Law" captures the dankness of '90s downtempo. The track's crime-jazz overtones reflect Brashill's overall approach, which tends to draw from the spooked-out atmospherics of early jungle. He also sprinkles some schlocky movie samples on tracks like "Lost Orbit" and "Out There" that align with the '90s mood, although the practice hasn't aged as well as other tropes of that era.
The approach to breaks is more experimental elsewhere. On "Swirls & Spirals," Brashill almost wills the groove to derail as the breaks slide across the grid. "Black Rainbow" casts heavily processed drums in disorientating textures and phrases—a dense concoction that might have been ungainly in the wrong hands. Brashill knows just how to manage these slippery elements without coming unstuck. As a wide-ranging survey of Brashill's music, Ups & Downs is a surprisingly coherent listening experience. Whatever the style, the LP shows he has his sound locked down.