- Omar McCutcheon, the Bristol artist better known as Batu, is quietly one of the most vital producers in dance music. His tracks, from 2013's "Spooked" to last year's "Marius," have consistently nudged up against the vanguard of modern club music. Timedance, which he founded in 2015, swiftly joined the ranks of Hessle Audio and Livity Sound as one the UK's most innovative electronic labels. Last week, Timedance hit a new milestone with its first full-length compilation, the excellent Patina Echoes. Rebuilt marks another milestone for McCutcheon. Released on the indie giant XL Recordings, it's by far his highest-profile record yet, and it shows him handling the big stage well.
Rebuilt further refines the hallmarks of Batu's sound, presenting four artful exercises in groove construction and sound design. The mood is one of understated toughness, the atmosphere sleek and futuristic, the rhythms finely engineered to evade any genre standard, even if their angular, "broken" feeling places them firmly on the UK spectrum. The range of tempos is impressive. "Rebuilt" swaggers at 116 BPM, making it the most DJ-friendly of the bunch. "Flash React" bobs and weaves at 150 BPM. "Pillars" and "Tuff Cookie" both clock in at 95 BPM but strike very different tones—the former slinky and atmospheric, the latter prickly with 16th notes, offset by the occasional splash of melody. Guided only by the odd compass of McCutcheon's ear, these are club tracks undiluted by the needs of the club, fodder for adventurous DJs only.
B1 Flash React
B2 Tuff Cookie