It would seem fair to argue that dubstep is at the healthiest it has been in years right now. Fresh talents keep springing, twisting the sound to bring it to new places and, just as importantly, new labels appear to push these artists forward. Case in point with Lyeform‘s debut, Stigma, which is also the first release on Belgian-based label Mo:zaïek Music. Lyeform’s name has been on the rise lately, thanks notably to his tracks being in rotation in the Keysound gang’s playlists; though his music is mostly rooted in grime, Lyeform is also able to look in other directions to spice things up, as evidenced on Stigma.
Stigma doesn’t wait too long to create its sombre atmosphere: we get glimpses of the drum beat, before heavy vocals and gun trigger sounds appear to occupy the whole sonic space. This segment contrasts with the minimal structure that follows it, calling to mind Loefah’s classic works: drums are loud and sharp, overlying hypnotic bass notes and echoes of the introduction. Lyeform also knows how to confound expectations, bringing back the vocals from the void, then sending the track to its vacuum state once more. Stigma is stunning, and kind of demands to be heard on a soundsystem, as it sounds like it could be of deadly effect.
On the flip, Mo:zaïek Music calls TMSV to give Stigma the remix treatment it deserves. Having experimented with drum & bass and jungle as of late, with for instance a forthcoming record on Om Unit’s Cosmic Bridge label, TMSV sticks to his 140 guns with this “Rusty 3 Stars Remix”, which mostly maintains the original’s frame, but highlights its percussive elements, transforming the drop into an outburst of angry grime kicks and claps, enhanced by enigmatic panpipes. While the remix is close enough to the original, TMSV manages to give it a fresh lift, showing a different side of the track, turning Stigma’s restraint into overt violence.
Stigma is a great way for Mo:zaïek to start with, showcasing a sound that takes cues from different places without remaining within the limits of one specific style. It is a promising debut as well for Lyeform, whose many dubs mean he should remain in the radar in the coming months.