- Recently, thanks in no small part to dBridge and Instra:mental's Autonomic activities, a sound has evolved in clubland which, as of yet, has no particular name, but, rather, tends to go under the tag "170 BPM bass music," or, somewhat tangentially, "minimal" (no, not that kind of minimal). Despite its genealogical relation to drum & bass—obvious, but strangely ambivalent—to call it that would be, if not wildly off the mark, at least in some sense misguided. Or, in the case of Exit's latest, biscuit takingly sparse offering, just plain weird.
"Abysmal Depth," which pops up late on in the aforementioned producers' recent FabricLive workout, is a case in point. Even compared with fellow Russian Kontext's skeletal take on dubstep (similarly drenched in the ghostly techtronica of Pole, Monolake and Shackleton), it's lean. Muffled bass, static hiss and spectral fragments of deserted lab ambience make for captivating, if uneasy, listening, while a gliding lead melody—set majestically against a pitch-perfect 4/4 breakdown—evokes real Tarkovskian desolation. And then there's the title track, which seems to be engaged in a kind of bass-fuelled reductionist endgame, like atomic decay caught on mic and pumped through a woofer. We're talking muted subs, tepid blips, icy clicks and a smattering of mine shaft percussion, and that's it (in other words, the kind of thing Data, Pinch or Breakage would make on a strict Vainio/Raster-Noton diet). Excellent it most certainly is, packed full of chest-caving low end pressure and militantly economical in design. But drum & bass? Goodness only knows.
A Wrong Way
B Abysmal Depth