Seemingly out of the blue and coinciding nicely with the RSD hype Distance and J:Kenzo dropped Chestikal, a collaboration between their respective labels; Chestplate and Artikal. Hence, the name. Whether or not this is simply a one off thing remains to be seen, but nevertheless its a interesting move for both parties involved and the novelty of it makes it “work”. Hopefully, there will be more Chestikal records in the future (it’d be wise for other labels to take note of collaboration as well). If not, it makes the occasion all the more special. Interestingly, the Chestikal release is not a strictly dubstep affair (see Dhyana) which makes the record an all together more attractive affair. While only two tracks, the collaboration here is worth the price of admission, as both producers showcase elements of why they are at the top of their game.
Starting off is the apropos ‘The Offering’ which doesn’t (or even attempt) reinvent the wheel when it comes to dubstep (nor does it need to). The caveman stomp of a halftime rhythm which has been genre’s calling card for almost twelve years now is chiseled out of rock and iron forged. While I would hate to say the growls and snarls are characteristically Distance and the beat structure/bassline is characteristically J:Kenzo, thats what my ears tell me (but its not the first time my ears have been wrong). It’s a tear out track, plain and simple, genetically edited for full impact on the dance and solely reserved to be played exclusively on the highest order of sound systems.
The flip of ‘Dhyana’ is (personally) the more interesting of the two tracks and where the lines blur between the producers. A halftime drum and bass track that Loxy would batter to be frank. It’s the type of genre both producers have had affinity for in the past. I mean just peep the dnb influenced tracks of Distance’s Dynamis LP and the under the radar slew of releases that Kenzo has been quietly putting out over the past three years for 31 Recordings, his own label and even 160 darling Cosmic Bridge. What ensues is a carefully constructed smattering of tabla and taiko drums that roll out a stately pace while Distance’s guitar dive bombs with screeching pitch bends and feedback. His guitar gives way to his more melancholic Vangelis-styled synthwork in the back half which lends a pensive quality that matches the more natural drum kit.
Not to overstay its welcome, Chestikal is just two tracks and out, leaving a sense of wanting more. The release’s brevity is perhaps its flaw in a sense as the need to hear more from these two overrides all else. The powers of the two producers leads me to conclude (perhaps wistfully) that there may have been more than just these two tracks made in the studio, but time will reveal all. In either case, just the fact that these two tracks have graced our ears is a treat in and of itself.