The past few years J:Kenzo’s sound has been transforming from the dark sub driven 140 we all know him for, into a more dubwise inspired aspect of music. This evolution in sound is something I’ve personally never really been a big fan of. Missing his old signature sound, I could only hope for a switch up in ARTKL025. What I found, was something which might be even better than Kenzo going back to his roots. A lot of the dubwise 140 has sounded exactly the same to me lately, but there’s something different about this release. It seems like J:Kenzo has managed to find a healthy mix between this new aspect of 140, and the old one.
“Battlefield” opens with horns that could have come straight out of an early Lion Charge release. The guitar stabs drop in to form a steady pace, while establishing the dubwise sound even further. The percussion and subline compliment each other perfectly, but sound a bit too repetitive in my own humble opinion. Meanwhile a flute sample comes in, along with sirens to further fill up the dynamics of the track.
Though being a proper 140 stepper, “Battlefield” is not the one which stands out for me personally. The flipside is where you can truly hear J:Kenzo’s earlier 140 influence. “Zbantu Shake” starts of in a more mystical fashion, with flutes filling the intro. It’s not the kick / snare pattern, or even subline which makes this track stand out for me. It’s the little elements like the stab around the 1:20 min mark, or the one’s around 2:20 which make the difference, as well as the notorious 4×4 high hat pattern which makes “Zbantu Shake” a true Kenzo headnodder.
I’m hopeful to see more signature J:Kenzo dubwise music in the near future, while one of dubsteps true pioneers further explores his sound within 140.