- It's tricky to manoeuvre the vanguard. Best laid schemes go oft astray as the one-dimensional quest for something, nay, anything new can come at a cost of substance. It's a good thing to be challenged, and accessibility is not necessarily a praiseworthy quality, but surely it is a sign of artistic adroitness that something so undeniably different can make such complete sense in an instant. This intriguing double-header from Four Tet and Mala does just that.
It's apparently a teaser from London label, Soul Jazz, of a forthcoming LP entitled Future Bass in which forward-thinking artists such as the two currently in question, Kevin Martin, Untold and others, will pitch their ideas of what tomorrow sounds like. If Kieran Hebden's vision as outlined here turns prophetic, then tomorrow is something to look forward to. He seems to possess a remarkable ability to coax genuine beauty out of an amalgamation of ostensibly unlikely sounds. In "Nothing to See," for instance, there's a you've-got-mail alert, a knock on the door, a record skipping, a drum kit thrashed and a general soup of electric bleeps and burps that are rubbed together until—by the time bass enters the fray at four minutes—your concept of harmony has become more about ones and zeros than major or minor. Perhaps most surprising of all, the normally-wonky Hebden lays down a beat that can best be described as jackin' and in doing so gives esotericism a groove.
Mala's effort is the more genre-conformist of the two. Considering the continuous strides forward currently being made within the greater dubstep scene, though, it's no less interesting. The beat is recognisable enough, but the oscillating pinpricks and languishing melody strung out on a harmonica make for an atypical piece of dubstep that, as with Four Tet, manages to charge ahead without ever losing touch.
A Four Tet - Nothing to See
B Mala - Don't Let Me Go