We should all know the drill by now with Punch Drunk: it’s the Peverelist run, Bristol based label that has been mining the seams of the cities sub heavy undergrowth for years and March see’s them drop their first platter of 2013 from Young Echo affiliate Zhou. The Zhou duo is made up of digidub producers Ishan Sound and Amos who we first heard on the label back in 2011 with a deep 12” which offset the pair’s diverse influences against each other in some kind of holding pattern between a steppah’s delight and a rouge off cut taken from a b-movie soundtrack. Members of the Young Echo collective somehow make their odd-ball influences work in different situations and Vessel, Kahn, El Kid and Zhou all hop off in their own different directions yet you can always sketch the odd line that binds the crew and Zhou very much centre the extremes of influences Young Echo have. It’s that soundsytem mentality: deep bass, dub echo and all that good stuff and it’s explored with intent here.
The 12” features two tracks on a similar theme though ‘Locust Tree’ is the most submerged of the two. It feels like you’re deep in some underwater cavern with half stepping drums feeling their way cautiously into the darkness whilst surrounded by a present sense of dread. It’s a calculated slow burning track that leaves you in a hypnotic state. The flip ‘Locust Dub’ ups the rhythm and bass sections to a swifter, more bumping ride. The spaced out dub aquatics of the pads play off the kick and sub in a really satisfying way and it’s the perfect counterpoint to the flip. The slow burn can be a bit of an underrated trait in dance music but this 12” shows you the impact you can have with some seriously deep material. It does what good meditative music can do within this bass spectrum; putting a deeper sensation to music that on the surface looks to move the head more than the feet. It’s what a lot of those early dubstep records were so good at, shuffling you out of a deeply hypnotic headspace with some seriously big frequencies.
Zhou pull off a mean trick here, exploring those outer reaches of dubstep in a way I’m not sure I’ve heard much of since ‘Circling/Over Here’ by Appleblim and Peverelist himself in the last throws of Shackleton’s Skull Disco label. It feels good to hear that zen like post-apocalyptic vibe again.
Out Monday on Punch Drunk.