Review: LAS & Gantz – Firepusher EP [SYSTM004]

Fresh off Innamind’s deadly collaborative plate, LAS pairs up with Gantz to drop another triple threat of wax on roots and culture focused SYSTEM. All three precision engineered sub shakedowns in the DMZ tradition – this plate is somewhat of a dream come true between two foundation focused producers carrying the flame in 2014. Fitting material so good you think it was made out of distilled dubspace itself.

First up is “Firepusher”. The body weightlessly floats in pools of the Er-Unconscious, until Jah, himself, utters the first words of creation “…..And the dub is also where the engineer becomes the artist…..” and from the words spoken comes a Babylon crumbling riddim. A plummeting sub-bass that swaggers about like a soundbwoy’s vengeful spirit. Hi-hats reverbed lovingly inna Tubby’s style while a snappy woodblock snare cuts through the slowly fractalizing dubspace surrounding it, awaking the dance before it reaches a hypnagogic trance. The elements, constituted, peel away, as the ghost of Augustus Pablo’s melodica materializes out of the chasm. Spiraling rasta chatter implodes upon itself while the riddim resumes until Jah utters “…..these big 18 inch speakers…..”. It all climaxes as the whole of dubspace cracks, fissures, the point of origin tendrils outward. As quick as the vortex, constituted from dub magick, clears the way, Jah again proclaims, accompanied by a duppy nyabinghi drummer and the wisps of melodica from the everliving Augustus Pablo while the riddim rides in the pocket, content in its own power, to bring Babylon to the ground.

“Malfunktions” is the one guaranteed to put a screw-face on anybody that hears it on a proper system. Clipped percussion helps the knees and elbows get bent while the b-line delivers enough pressure to cave in a chest or two. In the vein of “Firepusher”, everything gets cocooned in voidnoise as an early Tempa era D1-styled melody rides atop locking in that cyber g-funk rollidge – eventually double-timing the melody to make you dizzy in the head. “Badman….. member that…” And this is the where everything goes bonkers. Dub sirens blare, creating circular patterns, interweaving even – latticing in-between themselves, and outwards. A lone conga trills, filling in the empty space between. The b-line still as dismal as ever – all hood up, eyes down, gun finger in the air, rudebwoy / rudegyal, rewinds, 5’s, from the top, lighta, play this one again business!

“Second Nature”, meanwhile, is suspended in zero gravity and bears Gantz’s fingerprints all over. A quick vocal snippet of some language alien to writer calms just before surging middle eastern strings tug the heart strings, until a crafty record spins back throwing the strings into Lee Perry’s obeah room while performing alchemy to conjure a melody on some old vintage synth. Gantz spares between those aching strings and queasy organ refrain, which oddly compliments each rather well.

Well, I can’t complain, we been spoiled these past couple weeks with freshness from Gantz, LAS, and Mikael, reaffirming that tru-skool discipline to the all-mighty sound-system is still refreshing and maybe even a life-affirming as dubstep ages. And with these three producers at the helm we (the scene) will be well nourished for years to come. Additionally, LAS and Gantz’s entry into the SYSTEM catalogue finally expands beyond Vivek VIPS and solidifies the label as a tastemaker in the scene that can add to the dubstep conversation in 2014.

SYSTM004 is released March 10th and available from the System Music Store.

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