Although I’ve never followed the Drum & Bass world particularly closely, I’ve always felt inexorably drawn towards the music of Synkro, Indigo and the artists associated with Mindset Records, Indigo’s label. Known for stretching Autonomic beat patterns towards ambient and bass music territories, they’ve been attracting more than a little attention of late. There’s something intensely cinematic and atmospheric about the music of these producers; eschewing straight-edge DnB to create richer, more varied soundfields which never fail to create a unique ambience amidst the bristling beats.
Indigo has not put out a release to his name since a collaboration with Synkro with last year, and although he’s the lesser-known of the two producers, this new EP on Auxiliary should be set to cast the talented producer more firmly into the spotlight. Symbol #7 is an exquisite collection of tracks, oozing taste and atmosphere from every sound. Symbol #7.1 kicks off the A-side with deep, echoing drums contrasting with frenzied beats sped up almost to the level of static, before a huge synth sweep stutters an introduction to the core groove. Despite the frantic pace of the beats, running at an even 170BPM, the track glides rather than falters, with some deep ambient synths offsetting the twitching rhythms.
Not only does Indigo pay attention to micro-edits and atmospherics, he goes on to prove himself a more-than capable sound designer in his own right. Two-minute interlude Symbol #7.2 closes the A-side, a superb combination of atmospherics and haunting vocal melodies drifting off into the dark amidst sporadic percussive touches. The producer goes one better with standout Symbol #7.3; an excellent combination of his melodic and percussive personalities that opens out with a plucked oriental melody which is allowed to play out, nakedly beautiful , over water effects for over a minute before the beats kick in. When they do, the combination is unexpectedly subtle, the plucked notes complimenting the subdued yet detailed percussive field to gorgeous effect. Indigo has a way with vocals and melodies which proves intensely emotive, a rare asset in his field, and all this goes without mentioning his masterly dextrous application of half-stepping Autonomic drum patterns, beats that shift ceaselessly and create soundfields at times unstable with nervous energy while at other points surprisingly calming in their fluidity.
As if this all wasn’t enough already, with closer Symbol #7.4 Indigo goes in a new direction entirely. Clearly the darkest cut of the pack, the finale runs heavy on the dread, a muffled 4/4 acting as the only anchor for the majority of the track in a deep field of ominous pitched-down vocals and rain effects. Expertly applied textures dominate the moody second half, rounding off a powerful closer that shows how skilled a producer Indigo is even without his spectacular beatscience. It’s been a long wait for a proper solo statement from Indigo but Symbol #7 is unerringly superb; ambitiously dramatic and intensely atmospheric, it’ll have you eager to hear just what this talented producer can do next.