Review: LAS & Mikael – Outlaw EP [IMRV013]

The two greatest Finnish exports, LAS & Mikael, team up again on tru-skool label and constantly instabag worthy Innamind. Falling in line with their last collab EP, things are split between both artists and feature long-awaited dubs by both producers. However, with IMRV013 we get five fat bass bruisers rather than the three track tease like their last EP – a couple songs more and we’d have an album on our hands folks (someday perhaps?).

Up first is the filtered drone of ‘Key’ which opens much like ‘Firepusher’ did (which is not a bad thing at all). Soon enough ‘Key’ pulls back the jungle foliage to reveal some hill Rastas reasoning on the nature of inspiration and how creativity will heal all nations. A pneumatic sub swan dives and see-saws with athletic grace, kinked with a Mala-eqsue swing courtesy of ruff jazzy one-hits and tasteful bongo fills. Ethereal southeast Asian woodwinds keep the roots strong and true, referencing dubstep’s early fascination with all sounds from the land of divine beings. The title track ‘Outlaw’ is another Mikael and LAS collab and personally the highlight of the entire EP. Slathered in spring reverb, some surf rock guitar lines and a rockabilly-like walking bass-line (and this time it’s a real bass guitar) that lends something organic to the electronic nature of this music. The guitar is refracted and tessellated through a space-echo, while shakers propel it forward across the evening redness of the west, past ghost mining towns and the sun-scorched petroglyphs of the first nations. A lone gun shot cracks in the dry air giving way to some Ennio Morricone horn flourish that builds to a crescendo as the tremolo’d guitar returns scattering stray melodic lines like bullets as the bass gallops full tilt out of town towards the blood-red sun.

Next up is the dubplate we’ve been waiting ages for – ‘Drumspeak’. From what I heard, this one set Reconstrvct on fire. With swirling dubspace atmospherics and an early FWD>> days rhythmic carriage, ‘Drumspeak’ hits like a boxer and doesn’t leave much room for you to get outta the way. Full of vinyl ripped jazz snare cracks and tribalist cymatics, ‘Drumspeak’ is the one that’ll get the shampoo treatment every time – rinse and repeat business on this one people! LAS turns patois into an opiated incantation engineered to instigate mystikal states with ‘Farout’. Swampy and smoked-out percussion fling with abandon while bamboo flutes weave into spinbacks culminating into a heady brew of Black Ark psychedelia that’s anchored with a militant, ever -forward sub. That being said, ‘Farout’ feels more like a sketch than a fully developed song with it being the shortest tune outta the bunch and the only a slight bump in the road.

Mikael has the last laugh with the delightfully dissonant ‘Shut’. Cracking the void with surging strings and what seems like the buzzing laugh of a bee-swarm, ‘Shut’ again harkens back to the Velvet Room with unique concrete textures and plastic digi-horns that are both frightening and childlike in their timbre. Shut’s constantly shifting bassline really brings out all the best rhythmic elements that dubstep has to offer, reminding me of early Digital Mystikz tunes like ‘Conference’ and ‘Ugly’ with their suite-like structure. Two of the most in-demand producers at the moment, five tracks, and on the always instabag Innamind – expect this to sell out quick, as its really a no-brainer folks. Now all we have to do is wait for a collab LP by the two of them. The question is how long is that wait going to be?

IMRV013 is released June 15th and available from Unearthed Sounds, Redeye, Rewind Forward and Bleep.

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