Friday, April 15, 2016

Simon Shreeve “Healing Bowl” (Downwards): Leon Switch “Intrepid” (Chestplate)


And so happenstance dictates that Simon Shreeve’s first own-name solo release, on Birmingham’s Downwards label, comes out on the same day as the new single from his former partner in crime in one of the best British combos of the last decade or so, the ever-amazing, decline-of-dubstep-defying Kryptic Minds. As the boys go head to head, the big question is this – who will win?

The answer, of course, is that we all win. Bouyaka. “Healing Bowl” is a five-track, five star tour de force of nightbus-friendly headphone throb; all clipped subterranean beats, carefully deployed breaks, [k]ryptic Virus synths and industrial techno vibes that fuse together in bass-blessed bliss so effectively that you’re extremely likely to miss your stop and end up somewhere in the suburbs trying desperately to persuade a minicab to take you back.

In contrast to Shreeve's elegant suite, it’s all about the A-side on Leon Switch's new two-track 12", with “Intrepid” being markedly less subtle than anything on "Healing Bowl" – its eerie atmospheres are shot through with crunching elephantine beats, several-storey drops and darting passages of what we call wobblestep & quack-step, albeit that those probably aren’t the correct technical terms. Plus, icily grime-tastic loops and handclaps. It reminds us a little of our phase of getting (forgivably) obsessed with Raffertie 12”s a while back. Have this one on too loud, and you’ll probably crash the nightbus.

Although dubstep inevitably succumbed to the law of diminishing returns (after a while, it all got just a little too much “there’s always been a trust fund element to our music”), singles like this are a reminder that in small doses it can still refresh and reinvigorate, rather than just annoy and enervate. And if the net result of Kryptic Minds splitting in half is that we get two highly capable solo artists to keep a weather eye on, then all hail the art of falling apart.

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