Published Jun 11, 2019On Dioxide, UK producer Ashley Thomas (aka Otik) partners up with Dext Recordings for the third time. Like many of his contemporaries in British electronic music, Thomas has spent the last few years constructing bass mutations of garage music and techno that evade genre classification. This past year or so has seen him dive into even more abstract explorations — though not without dance floor potential — as is evident in his release earlier this year for Nous Disques, and in his most recent radio sets on Rinse France.
The title track that opens the EP is also indicative of this, starting things off with cascading, aqueous and squiggly synths and reverberated kick drums that lay down a heavy, atmospheric backdrop. These same textures come back on "Tuskanary," bringing the energy levels up and using those cavernous drums to create a steady rhythm while layering fragmented sounds on top to create a dizzying effect. On the second drop, the kicks jump out in a propulsive four-on-the-floor beat, each hit emitting massive amounts of sub-pressure.
On the B-side, fellow UK producer Larry McCarthy (aka Bruce) takes on "Dioxide" and offers what he calls, not a remix, but a "carbon reduction." Broken beats, highly processed and angular percussive fills, chirps and splashes of hollowed-out esoteric sounds that come and go in an irregular fashion are all spliced together, leading the listener into the producer's intricate soundscape.
The EP finishes with an ambient number, "Theia," and, while it is a pleasant track, it also seems inconsequential next to the rest, which see both Thomas and McCarthy venture into a current trend amongst some producers trained in the UK bass tradition: taking that energy and stripping it down to its purest abstract form, and then building something new from it. What we get from that are weighty, leftfield electronics beats that truly come to life when played at the loudest volume on a sound system. (Dext)