Blawan - What You Do With What You Have

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  • When Blawan emerged with tracks like "Fram" and especially his acid-flooded "Bohla," he seemed like one of Hessle's most exciting new prospects for three reasons: drums, drums and more drums. He crafted storming patterns that were intricate but explosive, a marvel of percussive engineering. His most recent work has suggested something else, though: following a rigid techno remix of Beastie Respond on TEAL and the unveiling of his dusty techno project with Pariah (Karenn), it seems as if Blawan's reining those rambunctious drums in. "What You Do With What You Have" is the sound of Blawan loading up his music with deep house signifiers, right down to the manipulated Moodymann speech snippets (seriously!), blunted chords and the laborious kick drum. It's not a good look for a producer who used to sound like he was writing in time signatures that didn't even exist yet. His bouncy, hollow drums feel uncomfortably restrained in the track's stale progression, and the bottled-up kinetic energy is never quite unleashed. On "Getting Me Down" it worked because the vocal's delirium complemented the rather wooden beat, but here there's no such saviour. It's just wooden. The flipside thankfully stays away from obvious tropes, but "Vibe Decorium" still suffers from that lumpy gait. When the best thing about your work is its unpredictability, settling into a template feels like a mistake. I don't doubt Blawan's ability to rebound, but this is most certainly a misstep for a producer that was on one hell of a hot streak.
  • Tracklist
      A What You Do With What You Have B Vibe Decorium