In case you don’t know, WAR is essentially the black ops division of Technique Recordings. The imprint only emerges from cover on rare occasions and, when it does, it always signals the delivery of a heavy payload of explosive dancefloor material. This particular mission demonstrates that the name Worldwide Audio Recordings is no idle boast. This unit has truly international credentials.
The USA represents in the form of LA-based duo Kronology’s opener, Vertigo. Portentous G-funk arpeggios meld with a dread- laden low-end pad and an eerie vocal sample to give warning of danger ahead. Then a warping build delivers us into the midst of tough sweeping bass and gym-ripped drums. This is hardbody music to keep the dancefloor energised.
Then Ukraine’s in the house, as MaxNRG’s 50,000 rolls through. This one’s the sound of a producer refusing to compromise on their quirky individual style. The pizzicato of the intro weaves into a progression of harmonic tones and the pitch-twisted vocal element that gives the track its name. Pop-and-lock drums and swathes of mid-range drive, punctuated with classic MPC-style hits give this an irresistible groove.
Of course, the UK isn’t left out of the party. The prolific North Base crew come scientific with Extrimus, a dark brew of technoid ingredients. An unsettling intro, built from ominous tones and an unpredictable chord sequence, gives way to a surprisingly melodic drop. Riffs and pieces of riff fold and collapse around each other as bass and drum deliver the heartbeat of the track. This is edge-of-the-seat music, with the unexpected around every corner.
Then Erb N Dub steps up with Payback. This is dense, spectrum-filling production. Uncompromisingly tough beats and bass modulations that are going to get even the most stalwart wall-hangers moving, combined with chase-scene stabs give this a relentless energy. The addition of rising alarm-call lines and a lighters-in-the-air breakdown means that this one warrants playing right to the second drop.
Spain comes correct with Gradual’s neural workout Psychodelicious. An impenetrable web of sound assaults the senses in
the intro, with dialogue fighting for attention with oscillating tones on all sides. The drop rips the atmosphere to shreds, reconfiguring it into a stripped-down, almost dub-like arrangement. Stridently militant drums keep time as the grime and filth of the bass drives the track onwards. This is one to drop to darken up the rave.
Fighting the rear-guard action is Austria’s Infrasonik, with The Horror. In the distance, a disturbing chime pattern heralds the approach of something sinister. That’s delivered by the rising inflection of the build, leading to a drop which provides no relief. The rhythmic interplay of drums and bass keeps cranking up the heart-rate of the track, until the momentary calm of the breakdown. Infrasonik have delivered on their title, fully evoking ever-increasing tension which is going to give this a guaranteed place in creative selectors’ sets.
This EP shows off both the international and interconnected nature of the scene. Showing off musicality, technical expertise and the variety of individual takes on rave-aimed D&B, Cubic provides an insight into the minds of some of the hottest producers from around the world. And it’ll destroy some dancefloors in the process.