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  • Filed under: Review
  • 04/29/2013

Bambooman Hollowed EP

For an online publication that was, at least originally, focused on bass music, Sonic Router's label wing has released a surprising smattering of styles. Its two releases this year, by Torus and Hav Lyfe, have featured sketchy beat experiments in a variety of fidelities and moods, and Hollowed, Bambooman's physical debut, follows a similar path. Like those producers, the Leeds-based Bambooman tends to produce in miniature, and as a result, his record comes across as more of a business card than a fully realized statement.

The artist's sound slots into the Mount Kimbie/James Blake school of spacing, as the tracks here offset booming lows with meticulous, foley-sampled overlay, and use compression tricks to create a feeling of queasiness. Further similarities stem from the sense that Bambooman takes at least some influence from garage, a notion seemingly confirmed by the swung, rippling rimshots and vocal sample about "crazy, out-of-time stuff" on "Skip." The producer quickly chops the phrase up and heads toward a reasonably focused climax, which he laces with a glacial, IDM-style melody. Still, Hollowed tends to revel in its unbalanced nature, whether it's via the squiggling synthline that cuts through the revving "Irish Moss" or the delicate patter of "Fields," a song where a careful beat is constructed from the sounds of close breathing and a lighter being sparked, among other things. The title track, meanwhile, is as much of a tinkling patchwork as its companions, but it's especially notable for the flamboyant, boogie-style bassline that ties it together.

Hollowed is also bolstered by two remixes. Zack Christ's take on "Irish Moss" is only negligibly different from Bambooman's style; it's just a bit dubbier, and cuts into a snare-led swing for the second half. Eckoclick, meanwhile, offers the spiky interlude "Sun" a complete and confident makeover, pairing a bassy, fidgeting house bump with a spacey, aerated soul vocal. As carefully put together as Bambooman's originals are, they're best when fleshed out. The producer has a way with microscopic fragments, but Hollowed depicts him as more of a technician than a unique voice.

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