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  • Filed under: Review
  • 04/05/2013

Arkist Never Forgotten EP

Despite being released on LA imprint Halocyan, Never Forgotten—the latest EP from Bristol-based producer Adam Gazla (a.k.a. Arkist)—is a proper hometown affair. The five-track release finds Gazla working alongside Applepips boss Appleblim, with Komon and October on remix duties, resulting in an eclectic collection of tunes, each of which touches on the shuffling rhythms of vintage garage.

Much like his slightly divisive 2012 single "Two Night Stand," a-side "Addict"—a collaboration with Appleblim—finds Gazla working with fizzing synth tones and high-energy garage rhythms. It's a tighter, more streamlined work than that track, however; where "Two Night Stand," for better or worse, was a dense affair full of sonic curveballs, "Addict" plays on classic synth progressions, bouncy arpeggios, and an infectious hi-hat rhythm to form a very enjoyable, albeit less surprising, club track. Regular collaborator Komon follows it up with a remix that slows the tempo, replacing the garage feel of the original with a lovely swaggering house vibe.

For all the local support on the EP, however, it's the two b-side cuts—which find Gazla working solo—that prove to be the highlights. On "Iron Oxide," he strips back the colorful synths to leave space for huge brooding bass hits and hanging, atmospheric chords, creating a darker garage cut that matches the a-side for energy while adding depth and mood. Power-pop-infused cut "23 Summers" provides the release's finest moment though. It's a vibrant work of R&B-influenced dance music, full of massive retro synths and major-key vocal chops; it sees Gazla harnessing the day-glo likability of the sounds he toyed with on "Two Night Stand," but in a tidier, more effective manner. Finally, October rounds off the package with a creative—although slightly disjointed—"23 Summers" remix. He keeps the retro feeling of the track intact, but shifts the emphasis away from catchy melodies and onto interlocking rhythmic patterns; it's undoubtedly an interesting interpretation, but it lacks some of the fun of the original.

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