- Bristol's Young Echo crew are tricky to pin down. With a collective discography that ranges from sunny dance floor fare to fearsome abstraction, it's easy to see them as unfocused eclectics, unified by little more than a name. But there is a common thread in their aesthetic, perhaps best defined as the influence of dub, both as a sonic strategy, and as a way of using negative space. That certainly holds true for Zhou, the duo of Amos Childs and Cris Ebdon. In their solo work as Jabu and Ishan Sound, the two artists explore hazy sample constructs and more overt dub reggae stylings respectively. As a duo their chosen framework is dubstep of the Bristol school, but with a pleasing tendency to spin off into blackened dub on the smallest provocation.
It was a formula that first earned them acclaim with their debut for Punch Drunk, I Remain / Noboru, back in 2011. Their second 12-inch for the imprint is a reprisal of that sound. Locust Tree perhaps lacks the stark majesty of those earlier productions, but still proves to be a rare moment of freshness in post-'09 dubstep. The title track, with its loping kick pattern and creamy sub weight, is a gorgeously downcast roller in the vein of "I Remain." Simple drops are avoided in favour of slow building momentum, drawing you into its full-frequency embrace. "Locust Dub" is actually a more quick-footed re-imagining, its driving double-time sub/kick pattern and aqueous chords recalling Bristol's love affair with Basic Channel circa 2008.
A Locust Tree
B Locust Dub