Hot on the heels of our interview with Philth, we needed to review his new EP “The Circle”, which was released last week on Dispatch Recordings.
This EP has quite a few collaborations on it, with his good friends Wreckless, Bredren, and Kolectiv. It also features a re-master of a tune people have been asking for for a few years now, “Your Love”, including a remix of that very track from heavy hitters SCAR!
This EP sounds like a logical progression for the Producer, keeping his trademark ultra-heavy, but never screechy, basslines (and boy are they HEAVY!) on top of crisp techstep breaks and eerie cinematic atmospheres!
I won’t talk about the tracks in their respective order, instead focusing on the different styles found within.
Let’s start with the title track, a collaboration between Philth and Wreckless. This is an excellent techstep roller for the modern times, keeping the vibe of classic Virus and BCUK tracks with incredible production values. The track has a very nice balance between the almost organic gurgling bass, the dry, snappy drums that cut like razor blades and the smooth, underwater pads that swell up to accentuate the bleak atmosphere. This song also sets the tone and concept behind the EP, mentioned by Philth himself in the interview, it contains a vocal sample that says the following: “contemplate the unity, the secret meaning behind events…. take two very different things and see how they can be united”. This is how he describes his workflow with Wreckless and it also hints at the two very different styles of tracks to be found herein.
“Yeti” follows a similar path, but has an even murkier ambiance and a MUCH heavier, balls out bassline! While it may have been in its gestation stage in the previous song, it has hatched and is raging and hungry for your ear flesh on this track! I particularly love the strange effect that sounds like a muffled scream coming from far away in a cave! The drums on this track are also heavier, thus emphasizing the artist’s trademark pendant for really filthy tunes. This one definitely puts hard neurofunk to the test, showing that you can make a really powerful, destructive tune without all the screechy noise and how to give the music more impact by letting the sounds actually breathe.
“Sphere Of Influence”, a collaborative effort with Bredren and Kolectiv takes a somewhat more minimal approach, with nasty bass stabs drenched in cathedral reverb that filter in and out, punctuated by airy, bell-like dub-techno stabs. Pure Philth, pun intended! When the bassline reaches its full harmonic potential, we can discern a plethora of different distortion effects, like rectification and sine wave-shaping that really make the sound tear through your speakers, figuratively speaking, of course. The drums again follow the traditional, hypnotic and sparse 2-step rhythm, foregoing the hectic 32nd notes shuffles to leave more space in the high-frequency range for the other musical elements, like the pads and synth stabs that make us feel like we are inside a sci-fi horror movie (think Event Horizon or Aliens).
Let’s move on to the lighter tunes from the EP, its 1st, and 3rd tracks: the SCAR remix of “Your Love” and the original version. In these tracks, Philth and SCAR show off the artist’s love of beautiful piano and vocal melodies amidst gorgeous string-like pads, but there is still a tension and a certain heaviness present, with the vocals being chorused and distorted and of course, featuring the producer’s trademark heavy, genetically modified, living basslines. The SCAR remix has a nice interplay between the bass hits and vocal snippets, which are played in time to build energy and make it a nice, bouncy techy roller.
Philth’s original version is more akin to liquid dnb, with beautiful, lush pads and strings that take more space in the mix, completed by airy, subdued analog leads. Meshed together with the full vocal melody and a soft, filtered reese that also plays a melodic riff – rather than focusing on intense manipulation and modulation – this track is wildly different from the others on this EP and the contrast is pure genius, showing the producer’s versatility and his ear for melody.
This is a very strong release from Philth and the Dispatch camp, always pushing the envelope with a cutting-edge sound that shows that, while neurofunk and pop n bass may be all the rage in the big festivals and events, techstep is still VERY MUCH alive, and sounding sick as fuck!
You can grab the EP straight from Dispatch’s online store:
Don’t forget to check out my interview with Philth over here, if you haven’t already!
For more information on Philth & Dispatch Recordings