- Remember when "luvstep" was bandied around to try and describe the music Sepalcure and co. were making around the time they first appeared? Yeah, sorry to remind you. But I have to, because that's actually not a bad (albeit silly) way to describe Toronto/Leeds producer Nathan Micay's first release as Bwana. "It Ain't Done Till It's Over" is a soap opera, a heaving and heavy-handed paean to heartbreak told in slippery snares, brittle bleeps and revving synths (not to mention the cocking of a firearm). None of that sounds particularly original, I know, but it's Bwana's approach that'll win you over: strategically drenching certain elements in reverb, he sends the track careening into a roller coaster of a breakdown, plunging into squalls of sub-bass before collecting things for another two minutes of pleasantry.
Fellow Torontonian XI steps in for a stellar remix, seizing on the snares in the breakdown and fashioning a woozy slow house tune in the vein of his recent "Squeeze," while Sibian & Faun craft a footworky mess that sounds like they tried to compress six minutes of Bwana's elegant dynamics into three minutes of schizoid chaos.
While "Over" might be the track that best defines Bwana's budding sound, the rest of the EP bears attention. "Sleeping In" features Micay's muse—the endlessly useful Ciara—and bounces her soft cadences like a pinball between precocious handclaps and beeps. Departing from the formula slightly, "When There Is Nothing Left" is a cloudy swirl, making a speech sample its focus instead of an R&B siren, but the tried-and-tested recipe of shimmering synths riding swathes of low-end remains as effective as ever. The EP is rounded off with Jack Dixon's functional tech house straightening of "Nothing Left," an addendum to this brave (proper) debut that shows Bwana with his ear pressed firmly to the ground and his hand ready to grasp whatever comes his way.
A1 It Ain't Done Til It's Over
A2 When There's Nothing Left
B1 Sleeping In
B2 It Ain't Done Til It's Over (XI Remix)
Digital: When There's Nothing Left (Jack Dixon Remix)
Digital: It Ain't Done Til It's Over (Sibian & Faun Remix)