With an impressive and varied discography behind him, Berlin-based producer and Hotflush label boss Paul Rose (a.k.a. Scuba, SCB, and Spectr) has thrown another curve ball with Adrenalin, his latest three-track single. Released under his Scuba alias, it marks an important turning point, both for the producer and for similar artists that come from the UK dubstep milieu. It's Rose's most adventurous outing yet—a release that pushes past stylistic lines to construct a fresh form of dance music.
The record comes out of the gate strong with "Adrenalin," the bombastic a-side. Frankenstein-like, it combines the rushing euphoria of '90s trance with a contemporary bassline straight out of tech-house. Guiding the combination is a relatively complex four-on-the-floor dominated by synth claps and a hyper-clean production aesthetic. It's a startling mixture, one made even more so by the song's unusual structure. Effectively split in two, the track rolls between euphoric highs and deep lows in a way that somehow escapes the predictable logic of the music it's rooted in. In other words, it's the kind of song that a lot of people on ecstasy are going to lose their shit to.
Joining "Adrenalin" are "Never" and "Everywhere," the single's two stunning and stylistically divergent b-sides. "Never" sees Scuba riffing on the formula of "Adrenalin," utilizing similar ethereal breakdowns and ultimately making a more complicated track by wiring in a breakbeat and a stuttering bassline vaguely reminiscent of Adonis' "We're Rocking Down the House." It's a deep cut and currently the sleeper of the bunch with serious early-morning dancefloor appeal.
With its unapologetic late-'80s freestyle nostalgia, "Everywhere" is the strangest cut on the single. Yet, strange doesn't mean bad, and the song pulls its weight by finding an ideal balance between cheesy and serious. Built on a bassline ripped straight from Newcleus, the track builds into a peak of synth riffage, Anthony and the Camp-like clavs, and the requisite Planet Rock boom-bap. Yet, far from simply being fodder for the retro set, "Everywhere" feels oddly futuristic. The production utilized is spartan and clean; there's not a blemish, misstep, or overdriven signal to be found anywhere. It's digital in its precision. The end product comes off sounding like an impressionistic take in the style of Tensnake's 2010 smash "Coma Cat."
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