- Part of what's fascinating about Young Echo is their willingness to look back as well as forward. For every envelope-pushing project from the Bristol collective there is one of a more classicist bent. As Ishan Sound, Chris Ebdon released two solo singles last year. "Clash Of The Titans," featuring the voice of Ras Addis, and a 7-inch for Portland's ZamZam label both explored a lovingly throwback digi-dub sound. As one half of Zhou, meanwhile, he has produced two singles for Punch Drunk that wouldn't have sounded out of place in the label's dubstep heyday.
It's no surprise that Pinch, who kept the torch burning for dubstep after many of his contemporaries had moved on, has fallen for Ebdon's latest effort. "Namkha" isn't so distant from Zhou's imposing dubstep sound, but in line with past Ishan Sound records it draws on soundsystem culture for inspiration. The result is a majestic steppers' rhythm whose ironclad triplet groove recalls the muscular minimalism of early Loefah. The "NN Special" is a subtle rework, with the mournful dub-style melody recast as a buzzing synth and the addition of a redemptive midsection. Rounding things off is a remix from Kahn, whose cavernous bass-scapes and lashings of ragga chat are equally retro but a few notches more aggressive. All three are masterful examples of their form, and a rare reminder of how, in the right hands, purism can be invigorating.
02. NN Special
03. Namkha (Kahn Remix)