It's a shame that Peaches was released so late in 2011. Although it's pretty undeniable that Blawan had himself a stellar year, this four-track EP offers some of the young UK producer's best work yet, and probably deserved a spot on some of those "Best of 2011" lists we've all been reading.
Stylistically, Peaches is no surprise. The tunes are dark, the vibes are intense, and the aesthetic is raw. Over his past few releases, not to mention his collaborative output as one half of Karenn, Blawan has honed a sound that somehow combines industrial, acid house, and hard techno and filters it all through a modern, bass-heavy lens. Even better, Peaches seems to indicate that he's finding a way to do it that's increasingly suitable for the dancefloor. "Peaches (Coronation)" kicks things off in thudding fashion, as the brawny drums pound away while the track's crunchy melodies and anxious percussive bits dance about. It's not a song for the faint of heart, but it's incredibly focused and exudes a tangible sense of drive. Similarly effective is the closing cut, "Peaches," (yes, all the song titles on the EP are variations on the word) which strips things down slightly but refuses to take its foot off the accelerator while unleashing a barrage of hard-edged acid and hammering drum sounds. Operating in this fashion, Blawan isn't sonically far away from a producer like Boddika, although Blawan's output is noticeably harder, and, more interestingly, weirder.
The EP's middle offerings, "Peaches (Freestone)" and "Peaches (Melting Flesh)," do see Blawan lightening up the aural assault, although there is nothing particularly light about either track. Again, it's not that he's changing his sound, but simply refining it and editing out the unnecessary elements. The drums on "Peaches (Freestone)" still rattle and clatter, but the song settles into a slightly shuffling house groove while breaking out an airy melody and some pleasantly tweaked vocal snippets. Things get dark and twisted again on "Peaches (Melting Flesh)," as Blawan employs a demonically pitched vocal refrain that pairs nicely with the tune's rolling rhythms and the rise and fall of its foreboding basslines.
In all honesty, there's not a single weak offering on Peaches. If this is how Blawan chose to wrap up 2011, then anticipation should be high for how he elects to get going in 2012.
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