- They might share a birthplace in Toronto, but until recently Adam Marshall and Christian Andersen seemed to share little common ground musically. The former was best-known for house and techno of a deeper hue, which he DJs, produces and releases on his New Kanada label; the latter for the dubstep and jungle-indebted bass music he fashioned as XI. Yet in the past few years Andersen seemed to be edging toward Marshall's territory, both musically, with the somnolent house of his Ambalance project, and physically, with a move to Berlin, Marshall's adopted home. It's there that the pair met and decided to collaborate as Graze, before Andersen upped sticks back to Toronto, with the first fruits of their union released last spring.
Of course, these days the notion of a bass artist making 4/4 or vice-verse is likely to raise more shrugs than eyebrows. With a few exceptions—the squelchy and stuttering "Scrap" or the ambient vistas of "Oath"—Edges feels mostly like a techno album, with even the depth-charge bass of its heaviest moment ("Cold Drop") erupting within a 4/4 framework. Yet the way Marshall and Anderson construct their beats has clearly been informed by bass. That technique and tempo creates a space where it feels as if the duo are taking time to explore each other's styles rather than just leaping in headlong together. It also gives the album a certain moody tinge—for all its dramatic stabs, "Skip/Crush" still seems sombre and morose. The low rumbles and bittersweet vocal snippets of "Airror" could be a rougher Falty DL, and "GoldN"'s rising synth tones would sound euphoric if they were slightly sped up, but instead they feel strung-out and elegantly wasted.
There's a definite sense of restraint at work here. Graze avoid any predictable drops, and their beats often seem poised on the brink of full-on club mode without ever going all the way. But by holding just a little back now, they definitely leave you wanting to hear more from them in the future.
02. Cold Drop
05. Stack Array