Wednesday, July 24, 2013

//MZK SPCL: Kromestar- Rhythm On My Mind/X Files Review [Dubstep/Purple]

We've driven a bit far from 'Kalawanji' and 'Roll' with Kromestar. Listening to his newest double single I can't help but want to pick apart the abandoning of the harsher and deeper mood that was still shown on 'Deepest Fears' and the approach to this, sort of, brainfeeder-ish eclectic drive. As I took a break from alienating friends and pitying myself, I put these two tracks on repeat and watched myself sink into a state of near confusion.

First, I feel like I owe Kromestar a proper introduction: I came across this London native a handful of years ago when I was first introduced to the primitive sound of Grime/Dubstep's early releases. Quickly, it became apparent that he was one of those producers who had been there to see the evolution of the UK sound from tightly-coiled to Loudly-Disassambled. With that said, he has remained true to the underground lion-hearted dark atmosphere of the original scene, only to occasionally deviate from his course to produce Hip Hop as Ironsoul or make sounds such as this.

I can easily pick apart what I find wrong with this tune but I'd rather explain what it is that lead me to feel this way. I have this process called 'Beat-it-until-it-dies'. It's an endurance test to see how much I can repeat-listen to a track until I feel like it has lost all of its spark (or until I started to feel physically sick). There are tracks, such as 'Star Dust' by Mutated Forms or 'Universal Traveler' by Air, that have stood strong for a week of repetitive listening. It only took for the second round of this double single for me to want to switch to something else. However, I kept listening through about six rounds before I was ready to write this review.

It is strange watching Kromestar fiddle with off-time-signature percussion because it brings to mind 'Los Angeles'-era Flying Lotus, especially with the unorganized range of bass-sounds and leads littered around 'Rhythm On My Mind'(which also remind me of the Purpled up Dubstep sound Joker is known for). I won't speak much about the vocals on this track because I feel like it does its duties well filling in gaps.

'X Files' has a different problem. It feels put together enough but its almost-Jakes-ish monotone deep sub-bass with thin metallic upper-crust wobble can't sustain an energy, no matter how often you flutter synths or hats around the track. Sounds that remind me of Miami Vice do not serve well on a Dubstep track.

I feel like these two tracks were put out to demonstrate Kromestar's ability to drive his sound forward in a modern music scene filled with eclectronicism but, honestly, that's precisely why Kromestar needs to stick to and develop the sound he helped create into a bigger and harsher monstrosity. We have the likes of Boxcutter, Martyn and Nosaj Thing to satisfy our curiosity of how far into a digitised-space the Dub sound can go. However, almost everyone has abandoned the rough-textures and deep-diving of actual deep space to fit the underground quota of  ridiculously ironic synth-lines. While these tracks do have undeniable Kromestar-bass at their core, the layers around them feel too toy-like and contrast the sharper teeth that were on 'Kalawanji' and 'Roll'.