If Mala is the clear thinking samurai of DMZ, then Coki is surely the drunken master. DMZ has always been a label that has displayed zen-like balance. For the precise thunder of every “Left Leg Out” there has always been a disorderly behemoth like “Spongebob” lurking around the block, more often than not proceeded by the words “built by Coki.” The last year was both critically tough and commercially lucrative for dubstep. But while artists such as Skrillex have been rightly mauled for a caustic, pornographic and groove-bereft bastardization of the sound it’s easy to forget that — when delivered correctly — there is still joy to be found in the harder end of the spectrum. Coki’s new EP, Don’t Get It Twisted, is a precise case in point.
“Tree Trunk” begins with a lackadaisical selection of horror movie drones and a heavily reverb laden snare/hat combo, with the drop signaling a classic distorted sawtooth bass. The fact that he manages to make audio of such brute ugliness sound not only interesting, but positively enticing, is testament to his light touch. It’s not the individual notes, it’s the space between them that prove captivating. In these days of full frequency spectrums and over-the-top compression there is still a strong element of space in the mix that keeps the music rooted. “Lower Octave” continues in much the same gear. Retro blips and video game samples abound, with that familiar sheet metal pang of a snare. “Celestial Dub” is a completely different proposition, sampling church organ alongside a beautifully rendered melodic bass pattern. “Think Your Gone” is leaden by proxy. The only unconvincing track, its lumbering gait displays little dexterity and the “this is a real murder tune!” sample sounds hamfisted. That said, Coki has delivered three tracks of lasting quality on this package. That they stick to his original blueprint so completely is no problem when they’re rendered with such whiplash efficiency.