- London's Rockwell became one of the hottest new drum & bass producers of the past few years with his obsessively intricate tracks. Tunes like "Underpass," "Reverse Engineering" and "Aria" were a punishing take on IDM-informed minimal drum & bass, but you'd never know that from Tripwire, the producer's third single on current home Shogun Audio, which shrouds Thomas Green's fastidious breaks in a fireball of burning jet fuel.
The past year saw Green collaborating with techstep monstrosities Noisia and Phace & Misanthrop, so it's no surprise his music would go in this direction, and truth be told it doesn't lack any of the wow factor of his past work. This time it just sounds like the drums are soaked in caustic fluid, the hapless vocal sample getting torn apart in a world of snarling wreckage. It's not pretty stuff, but unlike a lot of similar techstep, it retains its brute force power instead of devolving into a turbulent sea of farting noises.
For those turned off by the rather brash turn of events on "Tripwire," flipside "The Rain" should restore the faith. With its sweetly wafting diva samples, it sounds like the precise inversion of "Tripwire," that same mixture of scurrying drums and swelling basslines that made "Underpass" such a thrill back in 2010. As time goes on, the shock value of Rockwell's work lessens, but there's still no one else who sounds like him, and "Tripwire" proves how far his sound can be pushed without losing what makes it so special.
B The Rain