Dub house done right can be an irresistible force, and Persuasion’s Quatermass EP is just that. This is the Montreal-based producer’s second appearance on Opal Tapes following 2014 split We Live Here, released under his Stefan Jós moniker. The new project embraces a heavier, more cavernous sound whilst staying true to an approach that, rather than dive headfirst into a particular mood, opts to sketch its outline and gather up its residue. It’s the percussive detail which elevates “In the Atrium” from merely good into a fine work of sound sculpture. Its dry, wooden slaps give it a weirdly tactile feel which, in the right dancefloor moment, could knock the breath right out of you. “Damask Silk” takes us deeper; beneath a fierce kick we hear aqueous rumblings and distant depth-charges, the sound of club walls gradually caving in against the ocean’s pressure. “Quatermass” gradually brings us back up to the surface with energetic hats and a gently unfolding pad which, like rays of sun through the water, grows clear and sublime as we reach the top. Closer “Xaviera” is warmest of all, with a gorgeous drone shimmering above the sound of subterranean conga hits and a whispered sample slipping through the cracks of some neighbouring world.
Troy Gunner has come a long way over the seven-odd years he’s been releasing music. His British roots haunt his output’s aesthetics, rendering an honest, exciting string of productions. Drawing influence from the UK’s dominant bass and garage scenes, Gunner (having spent his early production days in Bristol) has translated a particularly musical upbringing to new grounds. His latest EP, GUNNER002, comes by way of a young, self-titled imprint he’s started with a focus on vinyl. The three-tracker opens up for business with “Stay Where You Are”, a pure, powerful and functional stomper led by warehouse-ready kickdrums, distorted pads and Gunner’s signature wonky accents in all the right places. But it’s the B-side where Gunner really comes into his own. The odd time signature, congas and neurotic one-off strikes make “Echolalia” a turbulent but rewarding ride. And then “Esperanza” flips everything you know about Gunner on its head, teeming with distortion and quirk.
Junes is a producer from the UK now based in Berlin. He set up the Galdoors label with his brother Tames five years ago and it’s kept a slow but steady focus on hypnotic grooves ever since. The pair have produced half the label’s output between them, with other releases coming from similarly minded artists Audio Werner, Elgato, Leif and Duckett. As a DJ, Junes focuses on deep nocturnal excursions with the occasional flourish of colour. His latest release for Galdoors, the label’s ninth, follows that trend. Title track “Circuit Rift” runs off a wide bass theme, haunting synths and incessant percussion that at times sounds like a ping pong ball bouncing on the floor. Touches of broken beat push up against a straight rhythm, adding extra flavour to the experience. The bells and squiggles of “Awake” channel alarm clocks and flashes of consciousness. The track’s many elements grow and coalesce beautifully, a never-ending expanse recalling, of all things, the yawning theme of Dusted’s “Always Remember…”. “Brass Hand”, finally, shimmers and rumbles with alien curiosity, a metallophonic melody shimmering over digital whispers. These tree tracks operate with one mind, yet fit into a variety of modes, showing an enthusiasm and open-mindedness in this producer that is to be applauded.
Words by Xavier Boucherat, Jena Sivakuma and Aidan Hanratty.