Beneath, Vobes EP

Museum im frueheren Regierungsbunker
Photo by Volker Hartmann

[PAN]


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Beneath creates thrilling contrast by using the rhythmic framework from what is, arguably, one of the more frivolous styles to emerge from the hardcore continuum, UK funky, and offsetting the frenetic kicks and snares against pitch-black atmospherics that owe more to vintage Metalheadz or early DMZ. It is a fantastically effective musical pitch, one that combines a sense of unabated motion with dank paranoia. On the Vobes EP he continues apace with four lessons in experimental brutalism for PAN. “Bored 2” hinges on squelching acid stabs against a bizarre framework of sounds — woodblock, sci-fi bleeps, and pummeling subs. Interestingly, the track features a near absence of kicks and snares, a clever gambit: the sense of forward thrust is kept moving at a staggering pace, and the absence equates not to dissatisfying stop-motion but nearly unbearable tension. This is a track that simply cries out for cut-and-paste DJ trickery, all manner of layering possible.

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By contrast, “Occupy” rattles along on a slew of brittle snares and thudding kick/sub interplay. This is classic Beneath — stone cold minimal roll-age that employs creepy movie samples (“Nobody knows I’m here”) with a selection of increasingly hazy atmospherics. The steel drums in the breakdown are an inspired touch, this most carnival-esque of sounds appropriated for more nefarious means. “One Blings” is a more staggered, dub-wise affair that employs strange time signature and twinkling wind chime effects alongside thwacking snares — a rare summer tune from Beneath. “Stress 1” closes in fine claustrophobic fashion. Staggered subs rocking up against some frantic footwork-esque snare trickery and a true cacophony of battering drums effect a brutal assault from all sides. Beneath has quickly become one of the most idiosyncratic voices in the bass spectrum, and while this blunt and uncomfortable EP broadens his palette somewhat, it is still the work of a singular personality.

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