Title: Hidden Structures EP
Artist: Roots Echo
Genre: Bass | Dubstep | Drum’n Bass
Release Date: July 14, 2013
Artist: Country Netherlands
Label: VKRS
Catalog Number: VKRSNL044
License: CC BY-NC-ND

[Note: The original VKRS website is no longer available.¬† I’ve linked to a copy available via the Internet Archive.]

I have to say, when I put this release in the player, ¬†I was immediately entertained by it. ¬†The opening track¬†Neural Link (LinkStep) starts off the release with a minimal rhythm track and strong spoken words: “Neural link established / sensory links established / reality configured / you are good to go / or so you think”. ¬†It’s just the kind of thing that immediately grabs both my attention and imagination. ¬†And, paired with a catchy minimal rhythm track that evokes just the right level of foreboding, and I start to think the this could be a work that really reaches into the part of my consciousness that responds to Science Fiction.

And, I like what I am listening to: it’s a complete counter-reaction to the over bloated, highly annoying dub step and trap styles of music that have become pervasive. ¬†By returning to the “roots” of dub and laying it bare on the table (hiding the underlying structure),¬†Roots Echo seems to be challenging the listener to take on a different relationship with the core styles of much popular music these days.

But that only works to a point.  The fact is, I grew tired of this release after a few listens.  Basically, it was an interesting exercise to go through and it allows the listener to understand what they are listening to in other forms of music.  But, as a release that stands well on its own, it still shows the same fad-laden style that is common among most popular music.

This is one of the things that I talked about in my Spiedkiks review: abstraction / minimalism can be a double-edged sword. ¬†Done one way, and it can reveal interesting relationships between parts that would get lost in the mix of a track. ¬†But, the other side is where this release ends up: the relationship between the minimal parts isn’t all that interesting, or necessarily cohesive enough to keep the listeners interest for long.

To make this worse, the vocals on¬†Look away are not good. ¬†The rest of the track is very interesting, with a nicely looped bass and organ lines, and a simple snare drum snap. ¬†And mixing in echo elements and a simple electronic noise line, I almost felt like it was a reinvention of the 80’s Ska style. ¬†But the vocals are just not well done, and actually make it difficult to listen to the track.

So, I would say, it’s worth listening to this release a couple of times to hear a very different take on what dubstep and popular music have become these days. ¬†However, beyond a few listens, I don’t believe this release will hold up over time.

Roots Echo: Hidden Structures EP




Posted by George De Bruin