- With last year's Fate and Sin EPs, Dark0 presented one of the most polished and compelling sounds in new instrumental grime. On the Solace EP for Rinse, he partly abandons that world, though the qualities that make his music so distinctive remain intact. Specifically it's the melodies—sad, swooning and, in the past, offset with grime's sharper rhythmic attack. This pairing is only repeated on "Spiral," whose drums stutter and tumble through a cloud of wailing synths. Elsewhere Dark0 chooses a simpler rhythmic palette indebted to contemporary rap and R&B. It's telling that the EP comes with a remix from Rome Fortune/Yung Lean collaborator Suicideyear; it's more telling still that Dark0's attempts at this weepy style are more convincing than his peer's.
"Abrasion" and "Fuschia" are the EP's head-turners, balladic instrumentals that are both very simple and endlessly listenable. Half-obscured R&B vocals supply the shadow of a hook, but Dark0's synths still do most of the heavy lifting. "The Past" does away with the drums to further heighten the melancholy. This time the sampled vocals are drawn out into a string of coos, as if we're hearing an R&B heartbreaker scrambled just beyond the point of familiarity. Such teasing moments draw attention to Solace's only flaw: the absence of vocalists. With productions this commanding, it's surely only a matter of time before Dark0's phone starts ringing.
04. The Past
05. Abrasion (Suicideyear Remix)