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  • Filed under: Review
  • 10/22/2013

Livity Sound Livity Sound

First of all, Livity Sound's eponymous debut album is actually an extensive compilation of the Bristol trio's previously released efforts (some more recent than others), which spans nearly two hours. Because those sides were generally aimed at peaktime DJ sets, there isn't any concession to the album-oriented listener here, other than a bit of attention paid to sequencing. At the same time, although Kowton, Peverelist, and Asusu all use similar palettes, there is enough variation between them to appeal to wide swaths of listeners. The tracks here are either solo cuts or collaborations between two of the members; none features all three, though a solid recent Boiler Room appearance proved that they can in fact ably perform as a unit. Essentially, Livity Sound is a compilation with a lot of range, and one that really hammers home the high level the trio has been performing at over the last few years.

What really links the producers' palettes is a shared passion for skeletal, upfront percussion, minimal melodic touches that harken back to jungle and hardcore, and booming low ends that are only truly discernible when sufficient volume and some sort of subwoofer have been applied. Still, it's not especially easy to figure out why such immediate, straight-out-of-the-box music is so innovative. After all, there are scads of producers (plenty of whom used to be involved, like Livity Sound, with UK bass music) releasing "raw jams," while laptop-free live PA sets are particularly in vogue. The trio may not spend a lot of time polishing off the rough edges, but these tracks have a lot in common with the UK's dance-music lineage, certainly as much or more than they do with house from Chicago or techno from Detroit or Berlin. Take Kowton, who is probably the bluntest of the three. His tracks (of which there are only two here, discounting his collaborations) may often fall in the bpm range of house, but the urgent, streaky synth strings that jab out from the bulbous swing on "More Games" are full of grime's violence. Likewise, Peverelist's complex rhythms feel more like sampler-made jungle than the drum-machine workouts they actually are, as his tracks are fleet and full of instinctive swerve. More than practically any other post-dubstep outlet (save for Hessle Audio), Livity Sound has bridged underlying dub pressure and swaggering rhythmic gymnastics with a to-the-point techno aesthetic. There are few, if any, misfires here, but fans will surely end up picking favorites. Newer track "End Point," by Pev & Kowton, is one of the crew's most anthemic tunes yet, with its pointillist blips and tumbling drums enveloped in soaring dusky pads. Asusu may be less popular than his counterparts, but his contributions here are just as vital, with the dreamy nightdrives of "Sister" and "Rendering" coming across like a Bristolian alternative to Juan Atkins. The list really goes on, from the crazed tabla workouts on Pev & Kowton's "Vapours" to the snaky synth percolation and furious drum rolls on Pev's deeply subby "Aztec Chant." As much as Livity Sound has something for everyone, there's no denying how carefully defined a sound these three have honed.

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