Earlier this year in May marked the final release of Nicon’s Subway imprint with the much sought after remixes and VIP of Bukez Finezt’s “Under Control”. However, that final release turned out to be more of a phoenix than a nail-in-the-coffin. Out of Subway’s ashes arises a new label, Next Level, with Bukez Finezt and Fr33m4n having the honour to spread this mythical birds’ wings first.
To be honest, this is the roughest, raunchiest tune I’ve reviewed for TRUSIK to-date. The opening cordially introduces most of the musical components in quite a straightforward way. Its sound design is pungent and caustic; the layering of the prominent high pitched squeal is done in a way that tickles your eardrums. The drums are punchy and rumbly, while maintaining a superb sense of depth so that it doesn’t sound all too digital. I suspect Fr33m4n had something to do with this. From what I’ve heard, his drum processing is off the charts.
The track sports Bukez Finezt’ signature sound, and I’m inclined to say that its weight shifts more towards the side of ‘Headache’ and ‘Real2Real’, except with laser guns and level-ups. Having said that, ‘Be Easy’ is way more of a Destructor 3000 than the aforementioned. The melody really gives a sense of power, sure, there are many hard “bangers” out there, but the sound design on ‘Be Easy’ pushes the envelope. It’s heaviness in a different light. Time is taken for every sound to fully register. The track is clear, not crowded. The most distorted sounds still have open dynamics, quite a feat with these sound structures.
I had the opportunity to ask Nicon a couple of questions about Next Level, a project he hinted at in an interview with our good friends at Duploc. He stated that the goal of his previous label, Subway, was to find a balance between the rougher and deeper sides of dubstep, a desire born out of disappointment to see the two sides distance themselves from the other. I therefore wondered where Next Level placed itself.
“These days most dubstep is either deep or hard, there is almost no middle ground anymore. Where are the new 26 Basslines, the new Together’s or In For The Kill’s? My mission with Next Level is to bring back that dubstep sound that’ll instantly make you draw for your gun fingers and put on your bassface. No offence to both sides though, at the moment they are the backbone of this genre but I feel both sides are suffering from a sort of tunnel vision. I wanna shake things up a little and see what’s gonna happen. So you can actually think of us as a label that’s going to fit in both deep and hard categories like what DMZ and Tempa did back in the day. One release will be a “Left leg Out” and another can be a “Horrid Henry”. It just needs to bang on a system and make you wanna demand that rewind. Place wise, I’d like to see Next Level become a quality label that the dubstep scene can be proud of. So when your techno or house friends ask you what you’re listening to you can pull out the latest release and blow em away”.
He also had some words to share about this particular release, and his working relationship with Bukez Finezt; “I’d like to say that ‘Be Easy’ embodies everything the label will feature. It’s weird (I love wierd), unique (can’t name one tune that sounds like this) and it bangs like crazy on a good rig. First time I tested it out was at Animalz last year and at some point I couldn’t feel my feet anymore because of the tracks sub vibrating through the stage. That’s when I knew I just had to have it for the first release. The joint effort between Bukez and I is what makes these releases go well. For instance, he’ll have a tune and I’ll have some sick idea on how to package and distribute it. I think that’s the reason why we keep working together. Plus he’s one the nicest and funniest guys out there so working with him is just a blast.”
Next Level has a lot in store for the not too distant future. I asked Nicon for some sneak previews, and it didn’t take much persuasion to let his enthusiasm tell me about all the good stuff in store; “002 will dropping 17th December just before Christmas. It’s by Noclu and it’s called MK31. Be on the lookout for clips of this single soon. 003 is coming in January, and will feature even more Germans. 004 is going to be the first vinyl release”.