Music

Arctic: Three Stripes EP

Fresh from coming correct with his amazing 12" Shook/Know This Don for Tomas Fraser's visionary, London based grime label Coyote Records, James 'Arctic' Black steps up to the plate for Liminal Sounds' second release, the exploratory Three Stripes EP.


Arctic

Three Stripes EP

Label: Liminal Sounds
US Release Date: 2013-08-19
UK Release Date: 2013-08-19
Label website
Amazon
iTunes

Fresh from coming correct with his amazing 12" Shook/Know This Don for Tomas Fraser's visionary, London based grime label Coyote Records, James ‘Arctic’ Black steps up to the plate for Liminal Sounds' second release, the exploratory Three Stripes EP.

Having birthed themselves as a label with five stellar remixes of Youngstar's seminal grime anthem Pulse X, Liminal Sounds' first original artist EP comes at a time when instrumental grime, as a genre, has over the last 8 months or so, gone global - perfectly exemplified by Mr. Black himself, a UK born, Australian based producer.

Advancing on and mutating his Bloom influenced sound, the Three Stripes EP touches base with everything that is good about the grime sound at the moment. It has it all; rubbery basslines, funky indebted drums, stop start riddims, deranged, choppy vocal samples all underpinned by experimental, rolling percussion lines and haunting, ambient pad work.

Opening up with "Off Peak" -- a definitely tongue in cheek title -- Black dissects all that makes UK Funky work so well, mangling it up with traditional, as well as forward thinking grime sounds creating a number imbued with a restless energy and a clearly focused vision of what works and what doesn't on the dancefloor.

The VIP version of the tune (track four on the digital EP), is subtly different from its predecessor and could easily be an earlier version of the opening number that was still knocking about as a project file in the producers DAW of choice -- The same funky template employed initially is utilized throughout, which for me, is a bit disappointing as I would have loved to have heard the sounds exercised throughout (which are truly excellent) re-contextualized into a straight up grime number (well, as straight up as Arctic is able too) which would have, in my opinion, made for a better companion piece than this decent, yet inbred, redneck of a number.

"Three Stripes" -- the titular track of the EP -- utilizes the classic 8-bar format so beloved of early era grime producers, perverting the once simple template with liberal dashings of seemingly randomly placed snare/clap hits, odd, alien sounding midi strings, deep sub bass riffs and innovative, ear-grabbing effects that allow the track to drive itself along in a wonderfully unpredictable manner. The vocal sample, first laid out in the introduction, which re-appears at pertinent points throughout the tune, adds a sense of authenticity to the track, reaffirming the Australian based producer's connection to his UK homeland.

Breen, one of the most lauded producers to have emerged from the new flurry of grimey instrumentation that has come out of the UK in the last year, closes the EP of with his reinterpretation of "Three Stripes"-- a hard-edged imagining of Black's original vision. Here Breen toughens up the drums, syncopates the basslines up a tad more, strips back the track to its bare bones and uses the original's pads to create an ambient breakdown which powers the track along after the drop. Resultantly, Breen's refix feels slightly more primed for the dancefloor than the original -- its way more traditional than Arctic's version but way less inventive at the same time.

The last of the original numbers on the EP, and the one that finishes up the vinyl only part of the release, is "Seeps" -- a darker take the grime genre -- a tune that unites a truly innovative stop start groove made up of punchy kicks, sub-wobbles, acidic synth twangs and Aphex Twin style snare rushes before dropping into a bouncy, sub heavy, rubbery 4x4 number. It's a powerful track that could be dropped in a set by many different styles of DJ, which is testament to the inimitable style that Black is creating for himself.

All things said Three Stripes is an extremely strong release that almost signals a change in direction for Arctic, so different is this release from his last for Coyote. Sure, a similar sound palette is used, but the riddims/grooves employed throughout are fresh and different, and his general skills in mixing and production seems to have been bolstered somewhat in the last few months as the tracks come across a lot more polished than his earlier work. It's a big release from a label who knows how to do things properly despite their young age -- Cop on sight!

8

The year in song reflected the state of the world around us. Here are the 70 songs that spoke to us this year.

70. The Horrors - "Machine"

On their fifth album V, the Horrors expand on the bright, psychedelic territory they explored with Luminous, anchoring the ten new tracks with retro synths and guitar fuzz freakouts. "Machine" is the delicious outlier and the most vitriolic cut on the record, with Faris Badwan belting out accusations to the song's subject, who may even be us. The concept of alienation is nothing new, but here the Brits incorporate a beautiful metaphor of an insect trapped in amber as an illustration of the human caught within modernity. Whether our trappings are technological, psychological, or something else entirely makes the statement all the more chilling. - Tristan Kneschke

Keep reading... Show less

Electronic music is one of the broadest-reaching genres by design, and 2017 highlights that as well as any other year on record. These are the 20 best albums.


20. Vitalic - Voyager (Citizen)

Pascal Arbez-Nicolas (a.k.a. Vitalic) made waves in the French Touch electro-house scene with his 2005 debut, OK Cowboy, which had a hard-hitting maximalist sound, but several albums later, Voyager finds him launching into realms beyond at his own speed. The quirky, wallflower vocals and guitar snippets employed throughout Voyager drop a funk that brings to mind WhoMadeWho or Matthew Dear if they had disco-pop injected between their toes. "Levitation" is as pure a slice of dance floor motivation as theoretically possible, a sci-fi gunfight with a cracking house beat sure to please his oldest fans, yet the album-as-form is equally effective in its more contemplative moments, like when Miss Kitten's vocals bring an ethereal dispassion to "Hans Is Driving" to balance out its somber vocoder or the heartfelt cover of "Don't Leave Me Now" by Supertramp. Voyager may infect you with a futuristic form of Saturday Night Fever, but afterwards, it gives you a hearty dose of aural acetaminophen to break it. - Alan Ranta


Keep reading... Show less
Film

Hitchcock, 'Psycho', and '78/52: Hitchcock's Shower Scene'

Alfred Hitchock and Janet Leigh on the set of Psycho (courtesy of Dogwoof)

"... [Psycho] broke every taboo you could possibly think of, it reinvented the language of film and revolutionised what you could do with a story on a very precise level. It also fundamentally and profoundly changed the ritual of movie going," says 78/52 director, Alexandre O. Philippe.

The title of Alexandre O. Philippe's 78/52: Hitchcock's Shower Scene (2017) denotes the 78 set-ups and the 52 cuts across a full week of shooting for Psycho's (1960) famous shower scene. Known for The People vs. George Lucas (2010), The Life and Times of Paul the Psychic Octopus (2012) and Doc of the Dead (2014), Philippe's exploration of a singular moment is a conversational one, featuring interviews with Walter Murch, Peter Bogdanovich, Guillermo del Toro, Jamie Lee Curtis, Osgood Perkins, Danny Elfman, Eli Roth, Elijah Wood, Bret Easton Ellis, Karyn Kusama, Neil Marshall, Richard Stanley and Marli Renfro, body double for Janet Leigh.

Keep reading... Show less

Rather than once again exploring the all-too-familiar territory of Dickens' A Christmas Carol, Samantha Silva's debut novel contextualizes the work's origins and gets inside the mind of its creator.


Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol has been told and retold so many times over the years that, by this point, one might be hard-pressed to find a single soul evenly glancingly familiar with western culture who isn't at least tangentially acquainted with the holiday classic. This is, of course, a bit of holiday-themed hyperbole, but the fact remains that the basic premise of A Christmas Carol has become so engrained in our culture that it would seem near impossible to imagine a time prior to its existence. It's universally-relatable themes of the power of kindness, redemption and forgiveness speaks to the heart of the Christmas season – at least as it has been presented in the 174 years since it was first published in 19 December 1843 -- just in time for Christmas.

Keep reading... Show less
6

Following his excellent debut record Communion, Rabit further explores the most devastating aspects of its sound in his sophomore opus Les Fleurs du Mal.

Back in 2015 Rabit was unleashing Communion in the experimental electronic scene. Combining extreme avant-garde motifs with an industrial perspective on top of the grime sharpness, Eric C. Burton released one of the most interesting records of that year. Blurring lines between genres, displaying an aptitude for taking things to the edge and the fact that Burton was not afraid to embrace the chaos of his music made Communion such an enticing listen, and in turn set Rabit to be a "not to be missed" artist.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image