Robin Hughes reviews the new EP from Boddika, ‘Steam’.
There is always hype around a new Swamp81 release since they are, arguably, the biggest label in the genre sometimes called UK bass music. There is always hype around a new Boddika release, since he is one of the most consistent of current producers with a sound all of his own. Despite this built in hype, Steam’s release drew even more excitement because not only was it Boddika on Swamp, but it was also Boddika’s first full Swamp release since March 2012. So should you believe the hype?
In a word, yes. There are four tracks spread over two plates (pushing the price up to around £14 – ouch) housed in a beautiful sleeve designed by Ashes57. The opener ‘Steam’, having been played for around 18 months on various radio shows, is probably the oldest track of the lot. It is also the most straightforwardly techno of the tracks, featuring a stomping beat backed up with metallic clangs and little else. As such, while it will most definitely do a job in any mix, as a standalone track it is somewhat underwhelming. On the flipside is ‘Heat’, probably the newest of the tracks. This has an old school 80s electro vibe to it with a bouncing drum machine beat, cut up female vocals, and the introduction of an acid synth line that takes it over the top. ‘Heat’ is probably the least stereotypical Boddika track on the EP, and it is an exciting look at what he is capable of when he steps out of his comfort zone.
Next up is ‘Black’, probably the biggest banger on offer. Beginning with an insanely catchy riff of synth stabs, the obligatory massive bass comes in only to recombine with the riff and some exemplary grooving hi-hats. These elements drop out and return throughout the track to keep you interested; as a whole, it is impossible to listen to it without dancing. The last track is ‘Crack’, and it is the furthest from the dance floor Boddika has gone in a while, though it does possess a menacing air which could be surprisingly effective in the club. It is based on a faltering stop-start rhythm, a rumbling bassline, and a creepy cut-up vocal riding over the top.
Overall, this is another fantastic entry in Boddika’s discography. What he manages, which so few others do, is to keep a highly distinctive sound while always pushing forward to new places. I don’t know what he will come up with next, but I know it will be sick.
Image Credit: www.loudat.com