Matthias Kaden doesn’t make me spill my drink here but he definitely raises an eyebrow or two. The EP is a deliberate step away from the perky, stripped-down sound you’d expect from this artist and this label towards a swampier, dubbier and more layered approach.
The A-side, ‘Rhythma’ has a world music vibe with a sparse congo-driven groove and lots of echoey delay. The long congo runs are great but might be a little too similar to other tracks out there these days. On the B-side, ‘Obeah’ is a more progressive, atmospheric affair with echoey stabs and African samples that create an ethnic, trancey feel. It’s a decent enough builder, but the rhythm is a little too flat to make you want to move your feet to it.
But the title track is the one to check here. ‘Myal’ uses a simplistic but powerful bassline as it’s foundation and then brings in congo rattles and the occasional bar of funky live drumming to create interest - this cuts in like the biting drums from the ‘Shadow Boxing’ drum n bass track way back in the day. It’s very danceable, if stopping short of anthemic, and certainly ‘different’.
That’s a tally of one good peak time track and two more stylistic exercises for earlier or later in the night. This release shows that in a post-minimal world Vakant is still a label to check on sight, and that Kaden is an artist with longevity and a lot left to offer. I await the next release eagerly.