- Livity Sound's Bristolian techno style has been an inspiration to young producers for years. It can be tricky for a new arrival to find their niche, but Forest Drive West found one through sheer restraint. The London producer's debut, released on Livity Sound's Dnuos Ytivil sub-label in 2016, chased the sound into the darkest recesses of the techno dance floor. Both of its tracks exceeded eight minutes, and their fluid longform arrangements teemed with chilly sound design. Such a subtle sound is hard to get right—there's a risk that the results fade into the background. But following an unexpectedly brilliant jungle EP for Rupture London, Forest Drive West's return to lower tempos demonstrates an unshakeable grasp on soundsystem minimalism.
The A-side, "Jinx," is the head-turner. In some respects, it belongs in a mind-bending tribal techno mix from the early 2000s. There's a loping kick pattern, hand percussion and distant animal calls that hint at the exotic while icy whorls of reverb create a sense of dislocation along with the delirium. Forest Drive West's twist is to nudge the tempo down towards the mid-120s, and to bolster the drums with crystal clear sub-bass. It's a smoker's take on the style. The B-side, "Scanners," opens up a little more, thanks to its busy drum pattern and the hint of a vocal sample. The perky groove is bolstered by layers of tightly interlocking hi-hats, one of Forest Drive West's specialities. Meanwhile, strange synthetic sounds pass in the reverbed midrange like predators roaming the ocean deep.