Authors of sold out releases for Osiris Music, Ruffcut, and Lion Charge imprints, established themselves in two contradicting styles: deep in low-end soothing dubwise or minimalist dubstep with extraterrestrial ambience. Kaiju, a duo that needs no introduction, achieved their signature sound, coming up with warm, round, but low and prominent bass that will shake your ear drums pleasantly played on any device, and as far as production goes – it’s a sign of mastery. No surprise that the natural step forward for those two was to join the crowd of profound bass lovers and get exclusively signed by Deep Medi.
This time Jamie and Paul serve us one of their murky dishes dressed in the concept of Seven Deadly Sins. The resulting sound continues the style we can already hear emerging on “3+2”, the hidden track on the “Creeper”. In “Seven Sins” Kaiju committed various collaborations: from teaming up with Gantz and Total Science to featuring vocals from Bristol’s Jack Gates (Noire) and the endearing chanting of Ryia. As long as most of the tracks are kept in obscurity, the introduction (“Envy”) and final piece (“Lust”) make a framing device of airy, melodic vocal tracks that refer to more emotional parts of human nature. I assume the order of Sins was changed for this reason, making a smooth intro and outro to a rather gloom-ridden, other-worldly selection in the middle.
On the darker side, we start with “Greed” set in the minimal, purist style. Filtering and echoing out the presence of any instrumental or vocal elements, it leaves the space just for sound design and Kaiju’s signature bass, that shakes up the whole picture. “Pride” again is set on a murky, distant planet, taking us back to the purist dubstep times: noisy, edgy and large. “Sloth” appears to be a smoother, deeper relative of “M16”; less distorted and kept at a slower pace, with singular african percs that add up to more organic feel. This one again refers back to Kaiju’s earlier works, sharing rather techier than melodic attributes of their Osiris releases.
As we would expect from something that Gantz would touch, there should be a lot of mad polyrhythms, extreme side chaining and unusual, rich percussions. Surprisingly this isn’t the case in “Gluttony”, which remains in the simpler, stripped back concept of the album. The result comes across as the clash between Kaiju’s dark design and ambient, distant pads with swirling in echo-springed samples, that presumably come from Gantz’ influence. “Wrath” resembles pitched down jungle technique, reversing and stretching breaks, with some alien ambience laid in the background.
If I was to criticise, I’d regret that the album seems to have put the concept slightly before the music. Those who praise pieces like “Justice”, “Jam maker” or “Wrong tings” may expect more of a dubwise sound coming out from the Deep Medi pressing. Knowing Kaiju’s rich, versatile sound and production craft, which brings about diverse structures, I can’t help but wish there was more showcasing of those skills, especially in the middle section. On the other hand I’m aware it can’t be all rastafari when talking about “Wrath” and “Greed” (or could it?).
In opposition to some of Kaiju’s works, “Seven Sins” puts them closer to dubstep purists, with the likes of Tunnidge, or Distance, rather than alongside tribal and harmonious Mala or Gantz. Does it suggest Deep Medi heading into a different direction? Listening to snapshots of forthcoming Bukez and Silkie, we could observe dropping compromise with the harsher sounds, letting the bass and percussion take over, from what used to be filled with melody. As we can see the scene is obviously changing with the result of being more confident to experiment with the listener’s expectations, which knowing the origins of the genre – will never be a negative thing.