- The Bell is essentially more of the same from the label that brought you OBI's The Jam Therapy EP. Both records are love letters to vintage UK garage, with a particular focus on rhythm: the grooves are extended and they flicker and flex relentlessly, bristling with micro-edits and neat details. On Lesus's new effort, though, the stuff around the drums is a bit different. The titular twinkling bells are arranged into dissonant melodies on "The Bell," augmented by puffs of spooky background atmos—think El-B's pre-dubstep paranoia. Lesus also dials in a pretty bold compression setting, making the beat lurch like a mutt on a lead. In the latter half, noir-ish Rhodes chords offer some welcome relief.
That's the original version, anyway. The "Sunset On Tatooine" version reworks the bells and notches down the tempo, allowing the dubby bassline to carry a bit more weight. Following Jam Therapy's lead, a remixer is then invited to work in a different soundsystem style. There's a digi-dub flavour to The Prince Of Ethiopia's two versions. The "808 Version" transposes the bells onto a slower dembow beat, where they trade bars with an aggy two-note bassline. The "MT-40 Version" is surprisingly chill thanks to its smeared midrange chords—supplied, presumably, by the titular Casio keyboard. Both do the job, but it's in UK garage that the Obstacle label really excels.
A1 The Bell
A2 The Bell (OBI - Sunset On Tatooine Remix)
B1 The Bell (Prince Of Ethiopia 808 Version)
B2 The Bell (Prince Of Ethiopia MT-40 Version)