Slugabed may hail from the UK, but for the first outing on his newly christened Activia Benz label, the inventive producer set his sights eastward, dipping into Eastern Europe's fertile beat scene and scooping up Belarusian beatmaker Deech. His new EP, Urnite, is not only Activia Benz's inaugural release; it's also the Minsk-based producer's debut.
Urnite is an EP rooted in equal parts experimental beat music and garage. He opens with "Lady86," a bouncy number replete with wonky bass tones and a straightforward piano melody. It's catchy, but ends on a slightly cheesy note with a closing guitar solo. Things get back on track with the title cut, which starts off with pinging synths before its backbeat escalates into a skittery, club-worthy bounce. It's certainly hard hitting, an effect that stems from its hip-hop underpinnings and its snarling, phaser-coated low end. Slugabed's remix of the track, which closes out the EP, takes "Urnite" into different territory, maintaining its Southern rap vibes but imbuing it with a juke-like freneticism and briskness via the addition of polyrhythmic wooden percussion and a growling slap bass.
Urnite also ventures into other genres; the clicking shuffle and requisite pitched-up vocal samples of "Beach'N'Vine," for example, showcase Deech's experiments with garage, to which he adds an icy, crystalline lead. The pretty sounds of "Windwave," on the other hand, are indebted to gliding synths, which hover over assorted stabs and squalls, an arpeggiated lead, and a meaty low-end.
Taken as a whole, Deech's debut effort is an enjoyable one, but it isn't perfect; the producer takes a frenetic approach to production, and the sheer amount of sound that he packs into his tracks can sometimes make them sound a tad busy. With that said, Urnite does mark a solid start to Deech's discography and hopefully heralds a series of interesting sounds to come from both his and Activia Benz's future releases.