- January seems to be a month of firsts for Bristol's Punch Drunk, which sees the first non-local producer on the label—the Hertfordshire-based Shortstuff, here no doubt thanks to the geographical relevance of Redland resident Hyetal. It's also, notably, the first collaborative 12-inch to be released on Punch Drunk, and undoubtedly one of the first absolutely essential dubstep 12-inches of 2010.
Close inspection of the label reveals two things: that dayglo pink and yellow is absolutely the appropriate colour to represent the tunes, and that each track seems to have been started and finished by the opposing producers. That latter point starts to make sense when you listen to the warped synth lines that open "Ice Cream." Knowing Hyetal's previous catalogue well, it's easy to draw comparisons with the melodic colouring and drum patterns of this with tracks like "Neon Speech." The tracks are definitely cut from the same cloth, but the duo decorate the edges differently, keeping the groove placid, splashing their cymbals and quickly snatching snare rolls. Ever present are some of Shortstuff's trademark fancifully chopped and impeccably timed vocal stabs, and the main bass riff pangs of his work on tracks like "Progression."
"Don't Sleep," however, screams like Shortstuff's breakthrough "A Rustling" with its quaking almost comically delayed synth riff shocking out those cartoon ripples of audio wobble behind quick succession kick drums and aggressive cymbal work. Upping the pace from "Ice Cream" to a more regulative funky tempo, and giving more attention to the conga lines and classic latin cowbell percussion along the way, "Don't Sleep" has the right dose of energetic hyper colour to fully complement the pitchbent synth attack of "Ice Cream."
A Ice Cream
B Don't Sleep