- Spatial cut his teeth on his own Infrasonics imprint between 2008 and 2010, outlining a singular take on the dubstep-techno hybrid experiments of the time. His weapons of choice—vocal cutups, clipped xylophones and a restless shuffle culled from garage; frosty chords and terse atmospheres borrowed from techno—made for a spartan mix but also a playful one. That aesthetic has made a somewhat awkward transition to slower tempos in recent years. It's not simply that Berlin-inflected minimalism is out of step with the current underground; rather, confronted with the added space and heft of slower BPMs, Spatial's productions can tend to sound slightly anaemic, their garagey tics suffering from a frustrating lack of flow.
With this EP for new London imprint Niche N Bump, it's fair to say that our man has finally cracked the formula. These tracks retain many of the producer's trademarks—metallic Berlin chords, Steve Gurley-esque snare licks—but bring a newfound ruggedness to the table. "Book Down Way Round" is the anthem, an addictive number which, in its pairing of functionalist bump with glossy pop vocal recalls garage—in spirit if not in flesh. "The Slammer" supplies a neat description of the kick drum that pins the thing down, a distorted slab of pressure equal parts sleazy and screwface-inducing. Finally, "Plastic Relic" warrants a Shed comparison. The brisk, technoid 2-step rhythm has a tense dynamism to it, while the heavily processed dub breakdown dropped over the top supplies the requisite halftime weightlessness.
A The Slammer
B1 Book Down Way Round
B2 Plastic Relic