The Spatial 10-inch EP series reaches its third and most visceral installment yet with ‘90729’ and ‘90807’. Spatial’s inaugural release on Infrasonics in late 2008 was enthusiastically welcomed by listeners, DJs and critics, as was its follow-up earlier this year, a reaction attributable to the producer’s instinctive fit with one of the prevailing moods in dubstep – in reclaiming the fluidity of 2-step garage and re-appropriating dub-techno processes, these productions capably stand alongside those of Martyn or 2562.
More than the execution of these satisfying tropes, though, their strength lies in a spooky attunement to the faint vibrations of a whole spectrum of dancefloor epiphanies, presenting in some ways a crisper, less melancholy counterpart to Burial, or even James Kirby’s projects as The Caretaker, but from the right side of the comedown. This latest collection of tracks, possibly Spatial’s most evocative, takes indirect inspiration from experience of the kind of ‘91-era Euro-rave documented in Warlock’s recent mix for FACT magazine. Removed as the comparison might seem given their wrought, contemporary sound, vestiges are detectable, such as the transmuted hoover basslines, hollow panic-synths and ectoplasmic vocal trails that at the peak of these tunes threaten to fill out Spatial’s characteristically airy, open-textured mix. Correspondingly, ‘90729’ and ‘90807’ all constitute conscious attempts to aim more squarely at the dancefloor, with success already coming in the form of DJ support from Untold, Incyde, T++, and Dubwar NYC resident Dave Q.
Via waves of unremitting subbass, Infrasonics have just rearranged our internal organs with the 3rd 10" on the label courtesy of Spatial. It’s going to be blindingly obvious to anyone following this end of the techy bass pool that both tracks sound remarkably alike Untold’s recent productions, which is about as much praise as we can give anyone right now. On ‘90729’ he achieves that overwhelming bass presence that made the ’It’s Gonna Work Out Fine’ EP so powerfully addictive, creating the sort of subliminally sexy bass tones that are just a rare commodity in this scene. Add this to the strafing rave tones and sticky electro percussion and you’ve got one of the deadliest grooves we’ve heard all year. On the flip ‘90807’ takes cues from the lean and hungry eski-riddims of Wiley, creating that dynamic feeling of sparse tension as Bok Bok, Untold or Sully productions with rhythms that twitch and flicker with a refined menace, enforced by the impending dread sub-drone. This is the sort of record you just need in your life – buy on sight!!!
Previous releases by anonymous London producer Spatial for his own Infrasonics label garnered widespread praise for their energized contributions to the ‘future garage’ side of dubstep, and this latest instalment ought to strengthen his case. Again, the tracks all have five-digit numerical titles, a trait of Spatial’s to keep non-musical elements to a minimum (while also mirroring the scene’s interest in postcodes), and the jagged frenzy of earlier releases has been further intensified.
The clipped, chunky beats of ‘90729’ are bound in tightly wound digital wire, the beats rigid but confused by phantom afterimages, bright stateside house chords lending warmth to an otherwise bleak vision. ‘90807’ toys with rhythmic freedoms, but again these are decoys, serving Burial-esque vocal bites and a gloomy, thoroughly synthetic vibraphone melody. ‘90731’ is jovial, even jubilant by comparison, a sensual female gasp erupting through playful rave stabs and pranksterish breaks. Heck, even the bass hoover seems perky. The clean, sleek lines and pinprick edits are custom built for large systems, striking a near perfect balance of light and shade that should charm all corners of the discotheque. Can we expect a ‘90210’ at some point?
Look, we know we hype up these Daily Downloads sometimes, but this is something special. Absolutely stunning future garage from Spatial of the Infrasonics camp (Hot City, Ike Release) – and this isn’t even the best track on the 10". Fans of Untold, 2562, Kowton/Narcossist and more should be all over this like a rash.
I’ve heard the future. It’s not even a whole track, but to these ears the second half of s p a t i a l’s 90729 (on his own Infrasonics) is the year’s most forward-looking, next-level, game-changing [insert additional cliches of choice] dance record.
No, really. Forget Hyph Mngo (great though it is). When 90729’s pan-galactic low-end announces itself at 3:00 precisely, we’re being signalled the thrilling sound of contemporary bass/garage in mid-morph.
Flicking either side of its implacable, lurching core, flitting into & instantly out of its voice snippets again while accumulating an ever more clattering, clicky percussive momentum, the next four minutes tell us what this music is supposed to sound like next.
The plinkily swinging 90807 & brisk, blithe Creative Commons goodie 90731 aren’t too shabby either…