- Of all the UK producers to emerge from the shadows of Livity Sound, Batu and Hodge stand out the most. Both have taken the blueprint left by Peverelist and Kowton—broken drum patterns, classic dub FX, monochrome synths—to new places informed by various styles of UK club music. Where Hodge skews darker, Batu goes far out. His records have only continued to decouple the beats more and more, leaving DJs with what Angus Finlayson described as "a faintly frustrating experience." But it's an experience that's lead to some of Bristol's most unusual music. The third release on Batu's Timedance label, Monolith, goes one step further, and like each 12-inch before it, you could call it his best work yet.
The title track is disarmingly slow, sounding as if it's being dragged through a labyrinth. It becomes increasingly unhinged over six minutes, constantly changing shape, and the drum sounds only get uglier, an aggressive approach that should be familiar to anyone who heard Batu's batshit "Bleeper Feed" last year. "Void" is just as stubbornly odd; Batu builds it around textured drums that ripple with each hit, savouring the trails of sound his effects leave behind.
The real star of the EP is "Reez." It has a sharply swung broken beat redolent of Batu's past work, but it's also Monolith's craziest track. Rather than riding a traditional bassline, the drums trigger springy low-end that highlights their bounciness—it feels both hard-hitting and ultra-lightweight. Lee Gamble's remix of "Reez" hearkens back to his breakout Diversions LP, bathing the original in gaseous synth and breaking the drum patterns into discombobulated spasms. It finishes an EP that blasts Bristol bass music further into outer space.
B2 Reez (Lee Gamble 3rd Rail Deconstruction)