Recommended: Becoming Real – Solar Dreams/Neon Decay
“I would say a lot of my inspirations comes from walking around London at certain times of the day and night” stated London based producer Toby Ridler, otherwise known as Becoming Real in an interview back in 2010. From his debut outing on Tough Love in 2009 to his most recent release, it’s almost a given to say these city life tours have played a huge part in Becoming Real being able to craft some incredibly varied yet accomplished productions, whilst retaining his distinctive style. Scouted by Ramp Recordings for a follow up after the release of his debut, his infectious take on grime and Eski style riddims have seen his productions approved by the likes of Roll Deep’s Trim, who featured on his track ‘Like Me’ in late 2010. His most recent release on Not Even, ‘Solar Dreams/Neon Decay’, works as a mini album, consisting of seven tracks spanning an amalgamation of dancehall, pop, grime and blissful electronica that should only aid him in reaching an even wider audience.
Becoming Real starts off the EP with ‘Snow Drift Love’, a wonderfully produced track, blending a range of cut up vocals with a mixture of warm, rippling synths and a strong danceable rhythm. Things quickly begin to pick up stride with ‘Lady Lazarus’ (and yes, for all you literary Truants fans, the name is indeed from the Sylvia Plath poem). Cutting down on the vocals works in the track’s favour, allowing the song more space to breathe and giving the synths a greater presence. Coming out his comfort zone for a slightly surprising but more than welcome highlight is ‘Work Me’, which is Ridler embracing the sounds of energetic dancehall with Lady Chann on vocal duties. This one is bound to be a staple in sets over summer and at Carnival. The track is an exciting taste of possible future ventures from the man himself, departing slightly from the more darker tones Becoming Real listeners will be used to and moving into a richer and warmer territory. This warmth is augmented further with the poppy and popular ‘Slow Memory’, featuring guest vocalist Alice. An Eastern inspired melody and subtle drum patterns set the foundation for Alice’s ethereal vocals.
In a similar mode as Elgato’s recent ‘Zone’ on Hessle Audio, Becoming Real drastically changes the direction of the EP with the minimal ‘Anthropology’. Using brooding pads and even panther roar samples, Ridler manages to create one of the most captivating atmospheres on the whole EP. With any luck should it should soundtrack many a night bus journey over the course of the year. ‘Equinox’ and ‘Zoning’ are the last two tracks on the EP and might be what one might consider aimed for the dancefloor. Pranged-out grime synths and emotionally charged riffs swing back and forth, engulfing a series of sultry rhythms which close the EP immaculately.
We like to spoil our devoted readers, so we also have a exclusive download of a remix of ‘Work Me’. The remix comes courtesy of Sydney-based producer Dro Carey, who has been on everyones radar the last year with a series of exceptional releases on the likes of Templar Sound, Hum + Buzz and The Trilogy Tapes. The cut is one of those stripped-back dancehall cuts that is so skeletal it borders on surreal – in other words, just how we like it. The original is full of bouncy goodness, but this stripped back version from Carey works just as well, allowing the vocals to shine so that none of the original’s fervent energy is lost. Straight to your bloodstream business.
Download: Becoming Real feat. Lady Chann – Work Me (Dro Carey Remix) (Not Even)
Solar Dreams/Neon Decay by Becoming Real is out now on Not Even.