October 10, 2011

Review: Vessel – ‘Wax Dance’ EP

Posted in Reviews tagged , , at 1:20 pm by essentiallyeclectic

Vessel – ‘Wax Dance’ EP

A Future Without

            The return of Bristol native Sebastian Gainsbrough sees him attach his Vessel moniker to an EP of quality bass music, teaming up with new label A Future Without in the process.

            Only a few months on from his impressive debut 12” ‘Nylon Sunset’ on the fledgling Left_blank imprint, Gainsbrough has hit the ground running at new home A Future Without, putting together a collaboration with lablemate Zhou. The resulting split single, ‘Tremble/Release Me’, is an impressive two tracks of ghostly ambience, and dropped back in August. Now Gainsbrough throws the ‘Wax Dance’ EP into the mix, to devastating effect.

Title track opener ‘Wax Dance’ has a muted tribal quality to it, leaning towards the lo-fi end of the minimal techno spectrum. Snippets of vocals calling out like ghosts in the machine complete the eerie nature produced by distant chords and blips. ‘James Dean’ introduces a schizophrenic feeling to proceedings, with scraps of beats underpinning a racing bass synth sequence. Fittingly, it ends suddenly mid-phrase, in keeping with the disorientated feel of both the track and the EP as a whole. This disorientation continues into the first few bars of ‘Blowback’, before a solid beat drops and the track stabilises into a solid groove, nailed in place by a syncopated bass note and the rhythmical, almost respirational quality of the synths.

Overall Gainsbrough’s production seems to have slowed in tempo, becoming more considered and introspective than the driving rhythms of ‘Nylon Sunset’. The 2-step garage swing of tracks such as ‘Ton’ has been replaced by the playful bounce of ‘Cuba’, and ‘Wax Dance’ as a whole seems to have taken a lot from the spectral sounds of the Zhou collaboration. This is no more evident than on the pensive closer ‘Trapped Wave’, an uplifting and gentle head-nodder driven by spirited synths and soft, round drums.

The rate of maturity in Gainsbrough’s production over such a short space of time is impressive, and it appears he has found himself in a prime location to build on the exciting work found on this strong EP.

See this review in context over at HYPONIK

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