At 50 releases, UK imprint RAMP is not short on diversity. That said, it has developed a reputation for cerebral sounds within bass music, both as an early champion of the synthy dubstep exploits of Zomby and as a home to Ras G, Tokimonsta, and other makers of instrumental beats in the lineage of J.Dilla. Knowing where its tastemaking prowess lies, the label remains relatively free and clear of house or techno, a few stray releases from Doc Daneeka notwithstanding. That's why seeing techy disco remixer, producer, and edit man Red Rack'em land release number 51 is, while not shocking, kind of surprising at least.
Maybe it shouldn't be. Berlin-based Scotsman Danny Berman is also not short on diversity, and with "Chirpsin," he easily works the propulsive syncopated bounce of UK funky into his wheelhouse. This more four-on-the-floor bass-music trend already bares some resemblance to artists like Domu or Seiji, not to mention the wonky broken-beat scene, a world Berman knows well—after all, it helped launch his career when we was still making bootleg boogie edits in the mid 2000s. But here, he's taking it somewhere all his own, taming its typical bombast with latin percussion, taut snare snaps, a deep dubby bassline, and magical harps—the type you'd expect to hear when a Disney princess awakes after a kiss from the prince.
The flipside, "All Alone," presents a more familiar Berman, albeit one more heavily weighted in bleak techno than the shimmery disco he's often associated with. In place of the fairy-tale harp, he's opted for washes of Jackie Gleason-style strings, adding just the slightest ray of sunshine to an otherwise stripped-down affair of warped bass, the snipped rattle of a shaker, and a padded kick. Clearly, the move from England to techno's current capital is having an effect.
Also at work is the increasing convergence of house, techno, and sounds that once dwelled primarily at 140bpm. It's an area ripe with possibility and Berman wants in on the action. A respectable first effort, both "Chirpsin" and "All Alone" have potential, but they don't evolve much over time. Basically, they come off as being overly tracky. Hopefully, as Berman hones the sound for the album he's signed on to do, this will change. RAMP's track record certainly suggests that it will.