Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Pariah - Safehouses EP : A Review

I apologise for the recent lack of posts, the impact of running the club night has affected all aspects of my life, with the blog one of many things having to take a step back. However, despite the rigours of organising these nights, I have still been downloading a steady stream of new music - undeniably most of it isn't that great, with many tracks being deleted almost as soon as Ive got them on my iTunes, but still every now and then something just blows me away.

The track(s) in question come from Pariah. I have been clucking for his Safehouses EP since it was first announced back in July, and I finally copped a digital version via eMusic earlier today. The EP is just deliriously beautiful, with some hip hop, 2step and dubstep thrown into a very classy mixing pot. I have decided to ditch the usual brief review style and I will administer a thorough seeing to to each of the six tracks to be found on the EP. Partly because I cannot pick a single track that deserves special mention. (and also that I am back at Uni next week and need to get back into writing.)

So, here goes....

First track The Slump is a delicious little slice, with some great spindley percussion building towards an undoubtedly Untold influenced bass lead drop. It is really a very sparse affair for the opening, before a cascade of percussion, synths and vocals come to join in. The track is an excellent opener for the EP, setting such a quality that the other tracks fight to keep up with.

The Slump is quickly followed by Prism, which begins as your typical 130 banger. However, at around 90 seconds in, the track takes on a different form and evolves into a slow build featuring some epically peaceful chopped and looped vocals, which cascade throughout the peaceful beat, leading to a final breakdown featuring the previously mentioned 130 beats, which are suddenly a lot more bearable. Possible EP highlight, this could go on to rival Joy Orbison as a crossover into DJ sets in almost any genre.

Railroad, the third track on Safehouses, greets us with a subtly complicated 2step vocal led introduction. A very crafty drum build is flitted in and out of the beat, giving the impression of some 'Filth' drop is around the corner. Thankfully that is just a phase and it all collapses into some very James Blake styled majoratively synth based 2step. A very dreamy track, the 2step really compliments the vocals and layered synths, creating probably the most atmospheric track here.

Crossed Out is another track around the 130 bpm area, with a similar style to the opening/closing beat from The Slump evident throughout. Despite my seemingly negative approach to it's pressence in The Slump, in the habitat created by Pariah in this track, the fast paced beat seems right at home here. There are some teasing vocals that are dispersed across the song, and also some great side partings of ambience that recall the opening of Joy Orbison's 2009 classic Hyph Mngo, before resuming back into the very choppy vocals. Easiest description would be a funky update of last EP highlight, Orpheus, however I feel that it required a more in depth description.

With the penultimate track, C Beams, Pariah takes us on a musical journey to FlyLo, Dilla, Madlib via his own track, Detroit Falls and Bristolian Joker. The vast drop in bpm is noticeable, but not worried about, some very Zomby-like skittley jabbing synths carry the expansive beat along it's path. Some wailing vocals are welcomed to bring some light to this increasingly dark track, before some Balam Acab style bass jumps are stabbed in. The purple sounding synths seem to work so well at this speed, that it is a wonder that Joker, Peverelist or Pinch haven't considered attempting this. (If they have and Ive missed it, apologies.) The pianos that introduce the track are worthy of making this track on a par with Prism as the EP highlights.

The final cut, Safehouses, is a beatless wonder. With no discernable drum beat to follow, a lot of responsibility is placed upon the ambience and atmosphere that Pariah is able to muster. This skill was sublimely done by Skream on his recent LP opener, Perforated. This song most reminds me of the sea. I know that appears to be some pretentious arty thing to say, but it really does. The waves of reverb that loop are sublime, creating an emotional soundscape. To say that this track really doesn't switch or drop or change in all of its 4 minutes and 11 seconds without me getting even slightly bored, is a testament in itself to the production skills of Pariah.

So, R&S continue their 100% record with UK bass music since their relaunch in 2008. After getting releases from Pariah and James Blake, they firmly have their finger on the pulse of UK Electronic music. This EP should make a name out of Pariah. If DJs are willing to give his tracks a go, I believe that certainly Prism should become a danceflooor hit. If not, Pariah will still have his own supporters who will stay faithful as long as he continues to bring such amazing music to our ears.

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