Well, we already know when Phace comes out with a new release it’s going to be powerful vibes but teaming up as he has with Vision on his new EP Caged seems to be taking it to a new level entirely. The EP releases shortly, next Friday April 24 and Your EDM has the first premiere of the title track.
It’s really quite difficult to describe the vibe on Caged; suffice it to say it is something so different from what most fans would expect from Phace, it’s actually shocking. It’s clear the Neosignal/NEU co-chair wanted to experiment with drums and beat structure on this one, which is interesting for a number of different reasons but especially because his last multi-track release was really focused on synths and melodies.
Each track on Caged has its own vibe but the EP as a whole also has a cohesive sound, characterized by fast-sounding, steppy beats and even faster snares. And more snares. And toms. And extra, sort of circular snares. It’s a wild ride when it comes to the drums on this one, and the title track sets the tone.
“Caged” opens with jazzy, sort of tribal-sounding drums. They’re fast, heavily syncopated, danceable and give just the slightest nod to the classic jungle tune “Bambaata” by Shy FX in terms of the timbre and drum pattern. After that, however, things get even more interesting. The buildup adds some seriously evil tones and then the syncopation of the initial drums flips inside out to land with the steppy, semi-jump up beat.
More drum sounds come in after the beat drops to fill up the space around the high-pitched drums and the beat. A number of different groupings of drums alternate places in the track which ostensibly make up the “melody” of the track. All the different pitches of drums create what would normally be a synth and the only actual notes are a few at a time in phrase transitions and really only there for ornamentation.
When you really break this track down, it beggars belief as to how it came together as a hard drum and bass track. So abstract yet so tightly structured at the same time; that’s something very few but Phace can do, especially at this tempo. It seems Caged may generally be about the limits of what can be done at with drums and sounds and still be called D&B. Is tempo a restriction or a jumping off point? While we’re not sure if that was Phace’s intention, it does indeed seem he’s busted through the “cage” of tempo and drums on this one.
Caged drops on Vision on Friday, April 24. Click here to pre-order.