Nearly everyone involved in the dubstep sound is (or everyone should be) well aware of DEEP MEDi’s expert curation of the genre. The imprint is one of the few true bastions of 140bpm bass music – responsible for some of the best music and producers around. No mean feat.
While the quality of MEDi material has never been in doubt, and the artists on the roster have always been the best of the best, the label’s always been one for sliding us the odd surprise. A/T/O/S, or the JME and Commodo collaboration, are both prime examples of these unexpected (and thoroughly amazing) aural surprises.
However, we’re pretty sure no one was prepared for the possibility of Kahn, Commodo and Gantz jumping on a six track, 2 x 12″ release. The MEDi team announced the news earlier this month, casually sliding it out into the world; melting minds around the world in the process.
This first Volume 1 (and yes, there are more Volumes to come) might just be a groundbreaking new chapter in the long and winding history of the dubstep sound. The MEDi family kindly dropped us a copy of the release a few weeks back, so we’ve put pen to paper and documented some initial thoughts on MEDiLP011…
Album opener AMK introduces itself with a tempo-changing experience as mystifying as the track’s title. Its Eastern-esque synth and esoteric vocal work directs the listener to a new land found outside the well-charted bass territories. With its enjoyable flute, splitting beat patterns, grumpy chords and hyped panning techniques, AMK announces the arrival of the three notorious producers. As far as introductions go, this one’s pretty stellar. There are flavours of Gantz, Commodo and Kahn in AMK, but it’s the combination of the three that’s created an unimaginable sound we’ve been dying to hear…
So Familia represents the producers’ purest, combined sound. The track contains all three’s pioneering vision for the future of whatever sound they’re creating (as it’s unlike anything else we’ve heard before). This cut sets the fundamental frequency of the first Volume. It’s a work of art that expresses the idea of ‘a voice in a dream that cannot be placed’. Ending with some seriously next-level, signature-style tricks, So Familia subtly exclaims the new ground these MEDi artists are exploring.
The never-ending rhythm in Kibosh flows like sandsnake traversing the dunes – floating around the powerful bass to add a hard edge to this out-of-the-box sound. Track three departs from what we’ve previously heard, with its mind-bending beat shuffle, down- and upward pitched chants, hidden percussive treats and expansive soundscapes. Kibosh feels almost Psycho-Mantis-like (if you missed the Gantz and Golem project, sort it out), but in a completely different setting.
Crystal Collect will be one of the album tracks fans will look to experience at full power on the big rigs. This one’s wall to wall percussive elements, stomping weight and derailed effects – all moving to drive the adrenaline levels. The second plate’s first track feels like it’s opening Hades’ gates, introducing a heavyweight production that unsurprisingly combines the best from all three artists. The track deals with the delusional So Familia sample, particularly the elements we recognise from previously released MEDi tracks like Exile, Over Deh So and Shift. Watch for Crystal Collect‘s gigantic second drop – expect insanity in the dance.
Bitchcraft strikes for the mind and heart with its powerful chords and natural progression (albeit with increasing complexity). Bitchcraft says much of the tactics exercised during the trio’s time in studio: intriguing resonance, hostile symphonies and ancient bassweight. With track five, Gantz, Commodo and Kahn highlight their high-class beat craftsmanship. Using their experience, they’ve created a manic track that spans than several genres. The right level of dynamics, special effects, and alienated samples make this undefinable track a pure DEEP MEDi production. It’ll punishing the bass bins with gusto!
Unmistakable doesn’t take long to announce itself and the end of Volume 1. Like the rest of the record, it’s the perfect combination of this trio’s combined efforts – and the perfect end to their debut long player. An ever-changing rhythm induces inner turmoil; while bringing a completely new sound to the table. A series of beat patterns swirl around each other in irregular, and rather hypnotising, fashion. The way Unmistakable travels into its own input is a true work of art. And, with its transitions to different tempos, it touches down on a far-out beat spectrum. It’s a new astral plane, truly new territory that only Gantz, Commodo and Kahn could have created.
This first volume does much to indicate the producers’ – and DEEP MEDi’s – mindset on whatever this music will be categorised as. As ever, it’s leading. Whatever it is.
After listening to the LP on repeat for the last few days, we’ve come to the realisation that a release of such magnitude could only have come from Mala’s imprint. And, like those before it, this will have a truly global impact on the sound. The sounds and emotions inside are of the highest grade, setting the bar high for the future content we expect from the trio; both individually and together. We were interested to hear how every producer can be heard across the six tracks – but just how comfortable they sound together. That’s truly a sign of a collaboration that’s meant to be.
Commodo, Kahn and Gantz don’t care about boundaries and opinions. That has always been clear. But with this record, together with the DEEP MEDi family, they’ve created a body of work that sets new rules.
It’s a line in the sand. This is their sound, it’s our sound. And we love it.
Peace, love and respect.