Artist: Owain Lewis
Title: Seven E.P
Keywords: Drum n Bass
Reviewer: Alex Spalding
First, an apology, for due to the html-ified nature of this blog any attempt at inserting the actual symbol that is in place between the ‘E’ and the ‘P’ in the title of this album herein has damaged the integrity of this review, thus I will be replacing it throughout with a ‘.’. I know there is a method for getting around this, probably by inserting the code for the symbol in place of the symbol itself which might trigger the symbol to show up as long as I don’t go back to edit the finished post without it reading as the symbol itself, which tends to trigger a bunch of code-script when it’s placed haphazardly into the text field. I didn’t want to mess with it, though, so sorry for any confusion this might have created. Anyway… occupying a middle ground between Drum n Bass style Jungle, IDM, Breakcore and Gabba is this EP by English artist Owain Lewis. I originally perceived it as a straightforward D&B EP invigorated by it’s dabbling in other peripheral genres and generous sampling, but even though the time for Jungle was mostly over even by the time this dropped in 2007 it still felt fresh and continues to by the sheer energy put into it by Lewis and its technical quality.
The first track is ‘Invert’, beginning with some furious hats, deep dark backgrounds that seem to be the result of the reverberations of a ride cymbal and a vocal sample about there being… something out there… in the woods and in the dark. This is soon followed by some Amen breakage, highly clipped and programmed with intensity. The groovewerk gets really hardcore after a while with the addition of some distorted bass. I’m hearing a lot of ride cymbals actually, some of them sounding heavy and downpitched.
Next is ‘Synchronicity’, which starts with a vocal sample and then heads right into breaks programmed with the sort of tight control of a Squarepusher track. After a very brief vocal sample, we’re treated to a moment of bouncy, distorted gabber bass kicks, then it’s back to the jungle. The groove on this is totally in the bass, the drums do a dance almost irreplicable by the human body except by way of contortion.
‘Intersect’ gets a sample from Peter Jackson’s Lord Of The Rings past the radar and then blasts us with hoover bass and Amen breaks. Intense and unwavering darkstep for the dancefloor. The atmosphere screams from beyond the veil of death.
‘Darkness’ clips up some jazzy breaks and upright bass. This is jungle jazz, really great stuff. Probably my favourite track on the album. Trumpets and chill sounds accompanied by fierce breakbeat programming, verging on IDM. After awhile it gets even more wild with a breakdown full of samples and then adding distorted bass for a bit, then going right back to the smooth feel from before.
The last track is ‘My Love For You’, combining electric piano and cello in the intro. The highly erratic and cut up breaks and samples that follow sound really good with the aforementioned elements. Then they drop off leaving us with some much needed darkness and distortion in the rhythms. It all comes back around, though!
Really nice EP, especially for anytime you’re in the mood for some Drum n Bass, so be sure to get this one… 🙂