Recommended: V/A – Weightless Volume One

Considering Mumdance and Logos have been responsible for some of our favourite productions over the last couple of years, we were particularly excited and intrigued to hear that the trailblazing duo are commissioning a brand new imprint together; Different Circles. Both artists have made significant innovations with their work in and around the grime spectrum, fueling our anticipation of what may become an essential label to keep tabs on. Logos, with his Kowloon EP, helped usher in a new era of experimentalism; exploring splintered drum structures at lower tempos in combination with the icy glint of eski’s distinct palette. His first full length, Cold Missions, continued on this trajectory and presented us with one of the most vital albums of last year. Mumdance, meanwhile, is everywhere you look at the moment, and with the crossover success of the Novelist vocalled “Take Time” on Rinse, he grabbed the scene by the scruff of the neck and helped propel the more abstract and inventive side of grime production to new audiences. The pair have also combined to deadly effect on records for Tectonic and Keysound, and if their output as label curators comes close to matching their stellar work as musicians, we’ll be in for a treat with Different Circles.

Weightless Volume One enlists some of the stars from the vast talent pool of producers that soundtrack dancefloors at nights like Boxed with such a weird and wonderful array of sounds, textures and colours. The “weightless” title is noted as “a term to describe the sound, tracing the liquid space between spectral grime, sound design & electronic experimentation”. Each track is near enough beatless, and though sections of Mumdance’s recent sets have included work in this vein, the theme of the release caught us pleasantly off-guard. The inclusions are even further from conventional club music than you might have expected, especially for a vinyl-only run. The idea of weightlessness in club music is an interesting one, vaguely reminiscent of the almost levitating force you’d experience from the proper physical basslines of classic dubstep on hefty soundsystems. The tracks here, though, achieve the sensation through lacking nearly any percussive structure; melodies and soundscapes drift like falling leaves, unanchored by regular drum patterns. You could draw comparisons with the devil mixes born out of classic grime, but these are detailed, vivid compositions built specifically as standalone tracks, rather than fully constructed with the drums removed retrospectively. Take another virtuoso effort from Dark0, “Sweetboy Tears”, with its soaring riffs and solitary hi-hat every eight bars making you feel like you’re suspended in a glorious three minute intro that never fully breaks, or Inkke’s jaunty, giddy synths on “Love Song” that effervesce over a dubby bassline. They offer up so much in terms of rhythm through melody, harmonies and sound design that they captivate your attention entirely.

The collaborative effort between Mumdance, Logos and Rabit entitled “Inside the Catacomb” distills a darker atmosphere, imbued with pure futuristic menace. This track is the closest the release gets to any kind of percussive regularity. Rabit’s “More Memories” is markedly different to a lot his previously released material, with the wistful drift of the synths and the plunging roll of the bassline providing an altogether smoother ride than some of his jagged club beats. Murlo contributes a rush of liquid energy with “Geist”, perhaps the most danceable track in the EP, and Strict Face’s creates deep space stasis with haunting leads and all-encompassing sub-frequencies on “Python Crossing”. The latter really is a work of art, arguably the best on the record and goes to show why Different Circles are so excited to have a full EP from the young Australian producer earmarked for their third release. These beatless constructions provide such a wicked interjection to sets in a club environment, creating almost surreal, otherworldly moments on the ‘floor, but it’s also great to the tracks getting a release so we can get lost in them in our own time. Logos and Mumdance are definitely onto something here, and whilst the next two releases will be a Logos EP and a Strict Face EP respectively, fingers crossed a Volume Two crops up at some point as well.

Weightless Volume One will be released on the 17th of November and can be pre-ordered here.

Oli Grant