Soukah lights the candles around the Ouija board and invokes bass-ridden spirits to bind with his forthcoming Rarefied release, “Windowlicka”. Since 2015, the German producer has risen in the sound system music scene. He’s made a guest appearance on Sicaria Sound’s Radar Radio show and incanted his own Ghostcast mix, as well as casting beats, through the likes of Unified Audio and Silent Motions Records, that don’t bow down to anyone’s notion of dubstep but his own. His growing acuity in sound-design is what carves Soukah’s unique signature into his cinematic rhythms. Possessed by his music, Rarefied have summoned Soukah once again.
The EP is composed of three 140bpm songs. The natural, grainy soundscapes that permeate each one make home-listening feel like watching an avant-garde horror flick. While “Windowlicka” takes the haunted feeling much further into the realms of a clear-cut banger, the B-sides go full Soukah. It’s hard to review the B-side in the same light as the A, because it’s a whole world of its own, which may say something about the release’s consistency. Another way to look at it though, is that “Windowlicka” provides the trojan horse of a certified roller that is needed to hide the beautifully obscure gemstones, “Rost” and “Strange Reflection VIP”, in its belly.
“Windowlicka” invites itself onto dancefloors across the board, blending grimy undertones with Ghastly lead stabs ricocheting overhead. Soukah has made the right move in keeping the track’s structure fairly simple. It makes for an easy blend that brings rolling melodic percussion tinted with fear. Sub-low bass aggressively drives forward, accompanied by crystal-clear hats and atmospheric bonks and rattles from a drum-kit that must have been found in an abandoned mental asylum built in the 1930s. The track is to-the-point dance music with a tense atmosphere, and while it is a decent new addition to its area, as well as a landmark in production for Soukah, it doesn’t particularly stand out from its contemporaries. Its solidity and pace juxtapose the flip side’s morose exploration of dubstep’s spacious nature.
Finally, Salad Fingers rears his beautiful head into the dubstep scene, acting as a cameo MC. And well done for Soukah’s Rarified compadres, Primer and T.A.R for bringing him here. I can only imagine the amount of musical knowledge that was shared and gained during the making of “Rost”. Every element of this song forms an overall cinematic experience that Crucial Recording’s releases almost achieve. It doesn’t matter how many times you listen to it, somewhere hidden behind the faded smoke and cracked mirrors you’ll find a new flickering lightbulb, or whisper in the darkness. The crackling vinyl falls like dust over the enigmatic melody that sways and staggers through tripping hats, objects in the next room breaking and a sliding, drunk (or reanimated) bassline that follows you wherever you go. David Firth would be proud.
“Strange Reflection VIP” feels like the second half of a story that the B-side to this release so vividly relates. After listening to the original, released on Germany’s SUBBASS label in 2015, it’s amazing to hear how far an already experimental producer has come in the skill of his sound-design. The creative goal that could only be half-manifested has been returned to with all the right tools for the vision. Heart-wrenchingly nostalgic music box melodies Glisten in the dirt, after the time-faded rendition of My Favourite Things sets the tone. We then move in a dirgeful, stomping section where water trickles through the cracks in the gently wind-whistled walls. I’m not just writing the imagery for the sake of it; all these sounds are there in the song. By being so meticulous in the sound design, it becomes a very visual EP.
Whilst they strike me as cinematic first and foremost, both “Strange Reflection VIP” and “Rost” are fully loaded with the song structure, sub-power and solid drum beats to make the crowd flop around like a barrel o’ fish. It’s just that their moments for spinning are far more select than the widely applicable title track, “Windowlicka”. Time will tell though, after they’re released, maybe clubs all over Europe (and beyond) will be screwing up their bass-faces to Salad Finger’s murmurs.
Windowlicka pre-orders will be available March 14th from the Rarefied Store.