Having latched onto another release of Modu’s in recent months - Ghost In The Machine, a collaboration with Xanadu - I was half-prepared. I first heard that track in the jungle room of an Exeter Phoenix takeover in June, and it was blowing the sweat off the face long before it was putting me in danger of breaking my speakers or my relatively civil relationship with my neighbour. Given that, you’d think I’d be totally over the effect that this kind of ground-crumbling darkstep has on me. I’m not.
There are hints in the build of both tracks that somehow, things will be lighter in this release. They are to some extent, but I’d still call those summery little stabs in the earlier bars deceptive. When Timelapse comes to a head, one is greeted with that auditory sleight of hand that is most akin to having the rug pulled out from under you in the most pleasant way. The body of Timelapse is a solid scatter of meaty snares and reeses that makes your skin crawl. The pattern is scatty enough to give you that feeling that you might fall over whilst stood completely still if the track is played with sufficient bassweight.
Window Seat is more tangible, more relentless. The sub work in this track does all the work, and it’s surely there to counterpoint some of the crispest, headiest snares I’ve heard in some time. Again, the flavour of this track is summer, with nice RnB oohs and ahs, and probing pads skittering over the mix whenever the kick swings out for long enough. The track is as close as drum ‘n’ bass of this meatier variety could get to pleasant listening.
This release is a piece of engineering solid enough to destroy most things set in its path; it only drops to a four out of five on the grounds that it’s not as ankle-twisting as Ghost In The Machine. You’ve set that bar, Modu.