xxxy Bash EP
At this point, the only aspect of xxxy's production that could match his prolificness is perhaps his consistency. Across the impressive list of EPs and singles xxxy has built since first appearing on the scene in 2009, the London producer has always managed to find fertile ground amidst the bass-music sphere—at times leaning more towards garage and 2-step, at others more towards electro and boogie. Classic electro and house seems to be the flavor of the hour on his latest EP—a five-track effort chock-full of skittering hats, retro-tinged breaks, and, of course, the occasional pitched vocal.
Of the three original tunes featured on the Bash EP, the first two seem the most indebted to electro, with some hints of acid house thrown in for good measure. "Bash" begins the EP with a solid breakbeat, one bathed in thick, dramatic pads and highlighted by a distant female vocal snippet. Shortly thereafter, the track kicks forward to modern times as its elements become massive in their use of sonic space, with tuned kicks leading the way as skittering hats and massive snares fire in between. The track's chord progression is also a bit retro-minded—like something pulled from a smoother '90s-house tune—but its sound is anything but retro. The chords are decidedly hi-fi as xxxy runs through a variety of biting sounds, eventually chopping the progression to make space for the mass of rhythmic proceedings. The following original, "Werk," takes a similar path, again building upon a breakbeat, but this time around, xxxy throws a deliciously funky, slightly overdriven bassline on top of the beat, and allows it to jump around the song's skittering procession of hats, shakers, cowbells, and claps. xxxy rounds out his contributions with a track that is barely electro-minded, and, more accurately, could be described as straight-up, club-oriented bass music. "Give in to You" rides on the back of a neverending roll of drums and toms, which smacks in a crisply overcompressed fashion above a sample of moody chords and patterns of incomprehensible vocal chops. Basically, it's the kind of track you've heard a few hundred times over the past few years, but it's as impeccably assembled as anything xxxy has done to date, making it hard to knock simply for a lack of innovation.
The tracklist is filled out by two remixes, the first of which comes from French Fries, who smooths out the title track in an impressively clean fashion. Where the original "Bash" is sharp and a bit overheated, French Fries decides to lay back in the groove, rounding out the low end with tuned 808s and eventually landing on a half-time break that's so unexpectedly perfect, it almost qualifies as a guilty pleasure. Isotonik takes almost the exact opposite path with his rework, throwing "Give in to You" into a hyper-speed world of retro-minded UK house. The resulting remix takes things a little too far and winds up sounding a bit kitsch in its vintage orientation.
In all honesty, there's nothing particularly forward about this EP—it's merely bass music done right. But who can blame xxxy for continuing steadily down this path? Armed with moody chords, skittering drums, and a seemingly neverending supply of chopped R&B vocals, he continues to present worthwhile results that are bound to win over dancefloors.
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