The influences of Asian and Indian cultures is not lost on “Sun Bites” featuring Villem. This thing is a monster of a beat with culminations of old school, jungle, and liquid drum and bass clashing together behind a very Indian sound. I feel like I’m in a Bollywood dance scene that also happens to be a fight scene on the edge of a cliff. The tinny drums are the hits of hollow metal arms, the synthesizers sound like whales, there’s a ringing every so often like wind chimes in a temple, and there’s a woman singing. I imagine her dancing on a stage overlooking the battle as these two metal warriors dance closer to the overhang just above sea level. About half-way into the battle there’s a sense of calming with a keyboard and everything just drops off. There’s a ticking like a clock, the whale call echoing. The battle pauses only for a short moment before the woman calls out her song and drums come back to tell us that the battle has begun again. I am reminded of the bonus rounds of Mortal Kombat. Test your might! Whew… I’m exhausted just picturing this. On to the next one!
My philosophy teacher in college used to tell me that there is no such thing as understanding, only coming to an understanding of. The second track of this EP is “Understand” and I think I might have it down. The opening drum sounds are tumultuous, as if someone is knocking on the door to a room that sound have plenty of people in it, especially since there is an ominous organ sound coming from behind the door. Soon a fast heartbeat is heard in the form of snare drums, and then cymbals and a higher octave on the organ. Our visitor is anxious and begins to knock more. A voice is heard calling in the distorted distance. The organs change to a more synthetic sound that reverberates in the room beyond the door. The drums now sound like running. I feel like I am listening to disjointed sequences in a story: the visitor knocking, the visitor frantic, the visitor frantically knocking while at the same time running (flashback sequence!), and the soft organ sound in and out of the background just enough to keep the tension building. I want to know what’s in that room! Let me in! I want to understand! And that my friends is the basis of this sound: you will never understand, and the understanding is not the point as much as the knocking is. The beat matters - it’s what you are listening to this for, right? - and we all know enough about horror films to know that if there’s a weird organ sound in the background and someone is knocking on the door like a ticking clock, they’re probably gonna die when they do find out what’s in there. I think it’s better just to make a beat out it and dance in the hallway, so that’s what I’m gonna do when listening to this, because the sound is much better than what’s in the room. Then the sound cuts off and the track ends. Damn. I just started getting it!
I’m beginning to think there’s a pattern to this EP as the knocking drums continue in original mixed third track “Only You” - only this time I would say the knocking sounds more like a hammer beating against something hollow and metal. Someone is building something. What is this epic structure? Weapons, buildings, or both? The synthesizers are perfectly matched against a choral sound to let the listener feel apart of something bigger and sacred, as though what is being built is within us. The horns and quick staccato notes in the latter part of the track sound like nail guns slamming into something, and there’s a cowbell sound like the final melding of a sword with a blacksmith hammer. Something is coming, and from how this track sounds, it’s going to be epic and we are going to be prepared. This one isn’t as much of a heavy sound as “Sun Bites” and it isn’t as tension-filled as “Understanding”, but you still get the urgency that you are part of something bigger planned. This is a great track to prep your transition into something deeper.
Thankfully that something deeper kicks right off with the title track “Lurch.” The tribal jungle beats here are a fantastic correlation with the snare and cymbals. Run, run, run as fast as you can, through the trees and over the brooks, for something is coming for you. It almost seems as though the occasional gong-like slamming heard throughout the track would be a door slamming, and the synthetic whispering in and out is perfectly creepy and motivating, and there is just enough synthesizer to keep you thinking that perhaps this isn’t as easy as you originally thought. Perhaps this is a concrete jungle of the future and the sounds are all around you, lurching forward and pulling you back. This one is definitely something you can dance to, but it’s just liquid enough with trills and smoothness to listen to outside of the club scene. This is not a simple track; it’s complicated and mixes calm with tension to an expert degree and keeps you reaching into the darkness for more.
Controversy be damned, I want to play some oldschool Mortal Kombat and jam out to this EP! Let the blood and fists fly as you test your might, because this one is a killer.
Pick up the new EP “In the Lurch” from Digital and Metalheadz on April 14.