- Sam Smith, the Bristol producer better known as Ploy (not the Disclosure collaborator), is part of a new wave of artists following in the footsteps of Hessle Audio and Livity Sound, drawing from the UK bass tradition to create wonky forms of house and techno. The same could be said for Timedance, the ever-more impressive label run by Smith's friend, Batu, which has just released Ploy's third record, Intrigued By The Drum. Following EPs from last year on Hessle Audio and Timedance, Intrigued By The Drum shows Smith further perfecting, if not quite expanding, what is now his signature sound.
All four tracks draw from the same palette, a hallucinatory mix of undulating rhythms and rainforest atmospheres—a bit like T++'s Wireless, but at a house tempo. Woody percussion flutters over rubbery basslines. Liquid drums swell and recede, tracing rhythms that, rather than charging forward, list queasily side to side. On the title track, the buzz of insects low in the mix grows into an anxious drone. On "Zoom," the most striking cut here, nervous clarinets drift by as in a fever dream, the warm bassline and vigorous hand drumming never joined by a steady kick. "Blow Poke" rides a tight and syncopated groove; "Bad Seed" swerves woozily, always feeling like it's about to fall out of time. It's hard to say how much more milage Smith can get out of this sound, which has remained consistent since his first EP as Ploy. But a record this imaginative and boldly realized suggests he's got no shortage of inspiration.
A1 Intrigued By The Drum
B1 Blow Poke
B2 Bad Seed