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  • Filed under: Review
  • 12/23/2013

Alight Iridis EP

Alight is a new undertaking from Ross Tones, who is perhaps best known for his difficult-to-characterize Throwing Snow moniker, and who just this year released a debut full-length—A Small Murmuration—as one half of collaborative project Snow Ghosts. (He also works in tandem with his brother under the name Vellico.) Alight's debut release for Local Action finds the active producer operating in a form that is no less diverse than usual, but the Iridis EP is characterized by a decided jungle influence. However, rather than simply revisiting jungle as an exercise in 'hardcore continuum'-fetishizing nostalgia, the EP sees Tones fusing the harsher, more mechanistic sides of drum & bass with a liquid junglist sensibility and a techno backbone. Injecting plenty of baroque weirdness into proceedings, Tones has produced four original tracks—the EP also includes a remix from Bristol producer Ziro—that are heavy on space and atmosphere, and surely represent the deep end of the recent jungle revival.

Opening track "Opelisk" is the most immediate of the bunch, with a crisp, bouncing techno beat underpinned by crunched, dynamic sonic hiss. This background scree has the effect of making the track feel nicely off-balance, as if its slick rhythms fell together accidentally, and could just as easily fall apart. Almost predictably then, in the middle of the track the beat disappears and is replaced by a string section before the song's newly scattered bass and kicks thrillingly reassemble themselves. "Darqa" is a brooding dubstep number whose spectral vocals and bird noises establish an appropriately eerie mood, and is notable for its immense, cavernous bass and stepping rhythms. However, it is the title track—which reportedly started as a version of Throwing Snow's "Too Polite"—that serves as the obvious highlight. With its looped, muffled vocals and stuttering, heavy-hitting kicks, the tune at first seems to be a solid example of bass-heavy house. However, it gradually dissipates into a wall of noise before the track is unexpectedly torn apart by shuddering, time-stretched, tech-step breakbeats. The remaining tracks round out the EP nicely, with the cinematic, cello-based "Caligo" providing a reprise of the release's recurring baroque strings and Ziro remixing "Obelisk" into storming, club-ready techno. Iridis is an exciting opening statement from the Alight project, not to mention another signal that its producer is someone whose talents are perhaps only just beginning to truly unfold.

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