Giving a nod back to 90s jungle and drum and bass, Seven merges fervent breakbeats, cosmic samples and absorbing basslines on his latest EP. The ominous rising-and-falling synths, random vocals and increasingly fast claps at the beginning of “Sound Check Your Self” aren’t particularly innovative, but what initially sounds like the run-up to an obvious drop turns out to be deceptively clever and one of Rebellium’s highlights. Seven instead opts for a clean, buoyant bassline that’s both refreshingly simple and weighty enough to offset some the wackier high-pitched samples.
Very little thus far sounds like a Seven-produced tune until “Obsidian”, where the producer returns to his distinctive “dungeon” style. Like its namesake (a naturally occurring volcanic glass), the track is dark and glossy, with the focus shifting slightly more towards the lower layers. It may not fit in with the other three tracks, but “Obsidian” delivers a more straightforward dubstep sound that is otherwise lacking on the EP. Based on old Casio keyboard samples, “Kasio” is another synth-heavy affair, with a main theme of oscillating high and low frequencies that creates a jarring, yet oddly satisfying, stereo effect. At 7 minute, it’s unusually – and perhaps unnecessarily – long, but the jittery rhythm and arrival of icy double-stops halfway through prevents any stagnation.
“Calypso” kicks off with a crystalline motif followed by snarling, metallic bass and energetic counter-rhythms. It’s a solid closing track, but there’s not much variety except for a few decorative sci-fi sounds added along the way. Although Rebellium Part 1 occasionally ventures into EDM territory, it retains enough finesse to avoid overstepping the mark. While it doesn’t make for the easiest listen (Seven’s productions were never known for their warmth or sensitivity) and may not match up to Shaker / Elevate released earlier this year, Rebellium’s experimentations generally pay off and show another side to the producer.