Review: AMIT – The Parallel EP [AMAR002EP]

It’s been a hot minute since AMIT dropped AMAR001 on us. Fear not though, AMIT comes correct with a four track EP, entitled ‘The Parallel’ that more than makes up for the wait. Dividing his time between hard-nosed D&B and meditative earth movers, AMAR002 also sees AMIT linking up with long time accomplice Rani, who provides those saccharine, world weary vocals that make the heart flutter and skip a few beats. Additionally, ‘The Parallel’ EP finds AMIT expanding his range and collaborating with long friend and Tempa cohort Nomine. AMAR002 is another solid and respectable transmission from AMIT that plays on his strengths in spades.

On top, AMIT drops the D&B tracks ‘I’ll Cut You Down’ and ‘Mr. Clark’. ‘I’ll Cut You Down’ finds AMIT refurbishing a ‘Human Warfare’ like halfstep D&B riddim sans those punkish guitar squalls for Middle Eastern strings and the breathy vocals of Rani. Rani’s vocals always possessed a slightly menacing edge to them, and they take center stage on ‘I’ll Cut You Down’ as a narrative develops about an abusive relationship or maybe a scorned lover’s revenge. Take your pick, either way, Rani’s vocals adds a human and intimate dimension to the track that replaces the harder edged sword that was ‘Human Warfare’ and transubstantiates the track into a much more subtle and emotionally resonant song that elevates it towards more reflective dance floors. While ‘I’ll Cut You Down’ may make you weep while you dance , AMIT and Nomine go straight for the throat in ‘Mr. Clark’. While an abstracted and refracted vocal emits deep from within dubspace, dread inducing bleeps penetrate and crack the mind. Pressurized, spherical subs gallop as warehouse synths clear the air until they morph into dive-bombing mentasms guareenteed to drive the floor into a frenzy. Percussion wise, ‘Mr. Clark’ is rich in scything hi-hat patterns, detailed scissoring noise makes get your shoulder samba going while a hollowed woodblock-like timbre is just barely out of ear shot. A perfect mid-set roller to make sure the dancers wear out their dancing shoes by the end of the night.

On the flip, AMIT performs some rasta magick and concocts two deeply spiritual earth movers. Both ‘You’re Native God’ as well as ‘Daaku’ have been staples of Yunx and cohorts sets for some weeks now and are finally available so you too can finally blow out your bedroom speakers, cuz there’s only one volume to play these two at – L-O-U-D!! ‘You’re Native God’ finds AMIT and Rani going toe-to-toe again with a plummeting steppas riddim that’ll shatter Babylon’s walls. A triumphant horn riff signals a call to arms for all the soundbwoys/soundgyals to come and gather and skank. Meanwhile, Rani’s syrupy vocals floats atop leading us towards bliss. As with ‘You’re Native God’, ‘Daaku’ mines that familiar steppas riddim, with some slight edits. Mainly the scene-setting sample, which maybe is in Hindi or Urdu, as ‘Daaku’ is Urdu for “armed robber” or “bandit”. Armed with spring-loaded snare cracks and searchlight synth belches, this one is aimed for pure system destruction as the b-line never ceases and desists.

Praise aside, this writer feels that AMIT’s 140 output (besides ‘Stay with Me’ and ‘Acid Trip’) seems to be simply variations upon a theme, which while deeply sound-system indebted, lacks a variety. While the argument can be made that AMIT is simply paying homage to dub culture and the reusing/recontextualization of a riddim, the argument reaches a certain ideological and sonic stalemate after releasing five similarly sounding riddims and the question of why not simply release an EP of said tunes. Though, if you play all five riddims together (which this writer has) they form a suite of sorts that destroys a dance each and everytime (and I urge you to do the same). This writer simply wants AMIT to stretch his sonic palate a bit more and explore more textures, percussion, and b-lines in the 140 realm. All in all though, ‘The Parallel’ EP is a plate that was worth the wait, that appeals not only to the dubsteppas but D&B heads as well. Given the somewhat limited nature of the AMAR label, this one will be insta-bag on sight and in re-press purgatory for awhile. Just be sure to check Discogs if you missed it the first time around

AMAR002EP is released March 5th and available from the AMAR Store.

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