Review: John Matrix – Penitent Man EP [INNAR008]

It was around this time last year when we covered Compa’s Dreams / Them Dogs release on Inna Riddim. It would be the EP to help Will find his footing in the scene and kick start his now successful career. Fast forward one year and TRUSIK is slowly growing strong with a healthy fan base and a frequent number of readers. It also marks the eighth release by Inna Riddim, provided by a promising Mancunian producer named John Matrix. Manchester is renown for its high calibre producers and is a digital hub for a diverse range of electronic music. Consequently, it comes as no surprise that John Matrix’s presence in the scene stretches back over ten years, from his early days on Manchester’s Unity Radio through to his residency with Deadbeats Collective. For his debut release on Inna Riddim, Matrix delivers his trademark sound; sub-heavy, menacing, minimal dubstep.

The “Penitent Man” EP does exactly what his trademark sound says on the tin. The opening track, “Ain’t Changing” throws us back to 07/08 when Caspa and Rusko where corrupting our minds with loosely slung gritty basslines enough to see any dubstepper take to the floor for a skank out. Defiant vocal samples and siren horns make this a true brock out beat. “Hunter” propels a dystopic synth line back and forth over spatial atmospherics and a menacing bassline, whilst “Blissfully Unaware” is evidently a much lighter and care-free affair with beautiful “Angelic filter-suffused vocal samples” drifting throughout. My favourite however, has to be the title track, “Penitent Man”. A wicked bassline underpinned by a sub-reinforced kick with spacious percussion builds up to a relentless alternating wobble; one sharp and tight, the other open and reverberating. It’s a bold composition paying ode to the old sound of dubstep, which appears to be slowly eroding from the writing process by the current “new era” of producers. It’s certainly a sound EP, accurately embodying Inna Riddim’s tag line: “enough bass, enough soul, enough grit, enough passion… enough said”.

INNAR008 is out now and available from Beatport.

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