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  • Filed under: Review
  • 11/17/2011

Salva Yellobone EP

As the bass-music landscape becomes increasingly crowded, it's harder and harder to recognize all the talented artists (not to mention chastize all of the lackluster ones), but with each passing day, it becomes clear that Salva just might be one of the most underrated producers in the game. Whether it's a function of geography (he originally set up his Frite Nite imprint in San Francisco and now resides in hip-hop-heavy Los Angeles), his constantly developing sound, or perhaps just his quiet, unassuming persona, it seems like Salva simply isn't getting his proper due. Nevertheless, maybe that's about to change, as the Bubblin' producer is currently encamped in Madrid as part of the Red Bull Music Academy, and has just released the Yellobone EP, the follow-up to his acclaimed debut full-length, Complex Housing.

While Salva's music incorporates elements of house, techno, electro, and numerous subgenres that fall somewhere in between, it's always been united by his reverence of big, clean sounds. That trend continues on Yellobone, most spectacularly on the propulsive title track, which delivers a precise assault of vintage drum and synth sounds with a ravey, warbling bassline and a subtle, albeit sultry, vocal. While there's undoubtedly a lot going on, the potent song sounds sleek and stripped down, as though all of its elements could be counted on a single hand. Another solid cut is "Komodo," a more hyperactive affair that pairs stuttering vocal bits with stop-and-start 808 percussion, thick bass stabs, and big synth chords. Although the term "future bass" remains mildly ridiculous, "Komodo" certainly sounds like it could have been delivered via time machine.

Yet the Yellobone EP isn't all hard-and-fast club tunes. "Obsession," a collaboration with Frite Nite affiliate B. Bravo, slows things down while adding an element of '80s electro-funk into the proceedings. Truly a team effort, the song finds B. Bravo's vocoder explorations meshing surprisingly well with Salva's rapid-fire synth stabs and sharp percussion. Different styles also come courtesy of the two remixes of the EP's title track, the first from beat-scene heavyweight Shlohmo and the essentially unknown 2KWTVR. Their quality take on "Yellobone" doesn't turn down the tempo, but it does downplay the drums in favor of a moderately spooky series of synth melodies. Throughout the track, the drums—which at times hint at footwork—continually morph while shifting in and out of the mix, adding to the tune's uneasy feel. The other rework comes courtesy of LOL Boys, who steer things back toward the dancefloor while dirtying up the drum sounds and inserting some melodies that are somehow both tropical and reminiscent of an '80s Nintendo soundtrack. Topping the original "Yellobone" is a pretty tall order, but both remixes offer interesting takes on Salva's impeccable production.

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