You sit upon a cushioned stool, suspended in darkness. Floodlights ignite above you and cast your surroundings in golden light, revealing a cage of percussion instruments. A large black cylinder, covered in countless holes, hangs above your head. You reach up and press a red button on the underside of the cylinder. A roaring sound rings through the cramped chamber, and tiny orbs start shooting out of the holes. The room comes to life with chaotic rhythm . . .
Ye who fear drums, turn back now. There tends to be some rhythmic component within most compositions, usually in the form of a mere time-keeping device; but the forefront isn’t frequently offered to the drums, because most listeners require a melodic element in the spotlight to hold their interest. This is something entirely different. Raw Trax is the newest full-length from London-born producer Anthoney J. Hart, AKA Basic Rhythm.
The phantom of grime hangs heavy in these monstrous songs, led by intricately skeletal beats, bolstered by subterranean bass wobbles, submerged in reverb, and accented by loads of empty space. Hart takes cues from the old-school — garage-flavored rhythms, underground rave synths, distorted vocal samples — but contorts the elements into otherworldly shapes that mystify and mesmerize with sparse, earth-shaking energy.
Raw Trax is a clinic in electronic drum-programming, yet the lack in melodic focus may be off-putting initially for listeners that seek catchy motifs or earworm hooks in their music. Attune yourself to the doctrine of percussion though, and this collection of songs will transform into something undeniable: a tome in the progression of our world’s first instrument. If you’re seeking drum-focused garage-grime, this album is for you.
– stasi (@stasisphere)