- After fully immersing himself in R&B-inflected liquid drum & bass with last year's Chroma Chords, Alix Perez returns with the brawniest EP he's released since Dark Days. Appearing on Exit for the first time, U sees Perez moving in the spaces between footwork and drum & bass that have recently become the label's domain.
"Make It Worth" is a collaboration with footwork kingpins Rashad and Spinn, and the Chicago duo's R&B-on-amphetamines schtick is such a perfect match for Perez's style that it should have happened sooner. As you might expect, it's like a cut from Rashad's Double Cup reinforced with a steely drum & bass chassis, and it sets a high standard for the rest of the EP.
"Gully Halves," with its low-frequency quakes, comes close to matching it, but just when you think it's about to explode into a Friction-style banger it slips into a more careful undulating groove. "U," with grime-style bass stabs, chopped vocals and stuttering percussion, bears some resemblance to Sam Binga & Om Unit's 170 BPM experiments on Exit. The lead-footed step of the Stray collaboration "Sludge," meanwhile, owes more to dubstep—specifically the short-lived purple strain—but the duo sound like they're sitting on their hands as it wobbles on listlessly. Not all the ideas on U are fleshed out as well as "Make It Worth," but a half-successful experiment is still better than the same old.
A1 Alix Perez - U
A2 Alix Perez & Stray - Sludge
B1 Alix Perez, DJ Rashad & DJ Spinn - Make It Worth
B2 Alix Perez - Gully Halves