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DJ Madd: Blank Space EP

The past two years have seen Budapest-born, Bristol-based producer DJ Madd AKA Peter Simon, excel. He’s proven himself as one of the scene’s strongest all-rounders, plying his previously drum n’ bass focussed trade into several facets of dubstep – including reggae steppers, purple, dark halfstep and future garage.

Madd’s notched up releases on labels such as Boka, Osiris, Wheel and Deal and Subway Recordings, but since 2010 has found his main home on Black Box, after having been earmarked as the marquee development artist of the label. The ‘Blank Space’ EP finds Madd dabbling in all-sorts, as he continues his two year run of over a dozen releases.

‘Murder 96’ sees Madd return to his jungle roots, with snarling mids and clanking breaks being the order of the day.  It’s often said that a generic tune done well will always command its way over a more original tune that fails to cover the bases. Madd’s stuck to this premise, and delivers what is a rowdy two and a half minutes in the dance.

‘Pitfall’ is a shuffled halfstepper, lean on highs and heavy on lows. It’s Madd at his most basic, stripping back his rhythmic trademarks to their most minimal elements – smokey ruins, shaking bass and slamming drums. There’s a lot of room on this tune, but it’s just not as snappy or raucus as ‘New Reality’ or ‘Secrets’.

‘Ritual’ features fellow Bristolian Phaeleh AKA Matt Preston. Phaeleh’s pasted vocal work and eastern strings sit high above Madd’s beats, in what is their first collaboration. The results aren’t as spectacular as both producers are on their own, but they meet at a reasonable median nonetheless. Madd’s basses sizzle, as he commands the low end in his usual fashion. A second round clash between these two does have the potential to work swimmingly.

It should also be noted that this 12″ also comes with a Black Box mix CD, Transmissions Vol. 1, which is compiled by Madd and features old favourites and new cuts from the likes of Lurka, TMSV, Benton and Seven; amongst others. Madd’s skill as a DJ is well-established, and he throws down a devastating array of tunes.

Whilst many will open this release with fervently open arms, one can only feel that Madd’s finest hour is yet to come. Regardless, one can’t fault him for deconstructing his own sound to it’s most primal elements, as his productions have always worked in the rave. Black Box 014 will tide over those still waiting for Madd’s debut LP, and will connect the flurry of other releases he’s no doubt planned for 2011. Sit tight.