"Rhythm Hi-Tek contains cuts borne from an extremely technical style of production, gliding between the rhythmic stereotypes of techno, dancehall and electro with ease"
A key component of Bristol’s modern-day musical nucleus is Batu’s Timedance imprint, which has been a catalyst in the alchemy of the Bristol sound over the last five years. The label’s output has hosted myriad iterations of hypnotic and surreal bass music that, whilst seemingly far away from those founding sounds of its junglist Windrush forefathers, retains that same propensity to vibrate your bones and blur your vision when played through a custom-built rig.
One such artist returning to Timedance is Ben Tragaskes aka Lurka. The Fringe White frontman has released razor-sharp singles for over a decade, and this time makes his long-awaited EP debut with ‘Rhythm Hi-Tek‘ – four tracks containing cuts borne from an extremely technical style of production, gliding between the rhythmic stereotypes of techno, dancehall and electro with ease.
In no way is this high-definition meandering a surprise from the Bristol-based producer, who is freshly responsible for “Curved“, the bleepy roller he co-produced with Batu earlier this year. It’s a forthright approach to production that not only invites movement, but commands it.
‘Rhythm Hi-Tek‘ is built from the same ilk, but has been vetted through an industrial lens. Its opener, ‘Point Noise Behaviours‘, is a clinical and deft electro cut glued together with scrupulous attention to instrumentation and seasoned with machine-sound FX and warehouse sonics. It’s static and metallic: Lurka’s meticulous respect for the timbral shaping of a track is clear from the off.
Completing the A-side is electro-dancehall cruiser ‘SSppeedd’, the most evolving track on the record. Its early hi-tek ambience develops into a zippy broken techno progression with recoiling, metallic-sounding percussion. For the first half, it feels as though something underneath is trying to break free: this struggle ends as Lurka effortlessly transitions to a 4×4 techno cruiser that acts as a satisfying crescendo to the song.
Flipping over, ‘Minds Eye Tript‘ is a billowing tribal jam that oscillates in a fashion that succumbs the listener to a tightly-tuned congo hypnosis. It’s a slowed-down roller that is nothing shy of a call-to-arms. The infliction of this urge to move is a trademark for Lurka, whose music is a trilogy of unrelenting drum patterns and low-slung grooves that is becoming continually more recognisable.
Fittingly, then, the closing title track blends sci-fi glitches with commanding bass drones that make for a neurotic final listening experience. This track encapsulates the EP as a whole: the result of an enviable standard of technical engineering that makes you feel probed to dance but paranoid at the same time.
‘Rhythm Hi-Tek‘ is a step into unprecedented musical territory during a period of unprecedented territory for the wider world. Timedance is looking into the future, which is a brave thing to do right now. With their refusal to adhere to genre, it is all the more wondrous to see how the sub-bass fetishists of the West continue to push the boundaries of soundsytem music.
‘Rhythm Hi-Tek’ EP is scheduled for release 8 May via Timedance. Order a copy from Bandcamp.
1. Point Noise Behaviours
3. Minds Eye Tript
4. Rhythm Hi-Tek