Review: Subtle Mind – Gravitate EP [TUBAd004]

Hailing from California in the USA, Subtle Mind is the collaborative work of two producers, Paul and Austin. This EP marks their first release with Tuba Records. The labels’ brand was formulated by Ric ‘Bakir’ in 2010, and has featured releases from some seasoned veterans as well as newly emerging talent. Tuba Records already boasts a well-rounded discography from artists such as TRUTH, J:Kenzo, DJG, Moldy, Daega Sound, The Spit Brothers, NoahD, Roommate, Compa, Prism and now Subtle Mind. The Gravitate EP showcases perfectly Subtle Mind’s diverse production skills as well as their taste in sound design.

The EP starts off with the title track “Gravitate”. It launches into deeply reverberated tribal drums and subtle vinyl crackle. Each hit of the drum lingers with a dubwise sensation. Vibrant accents in atmosphere bounce around empty space between the drum work. The tune drops into a deep abyssal of thick, bass driven drum kicks and a heavy undertone of low frequency bass pressure. Clean high hats soaked with a metallic reverb, punch through alongside firm snares, bringing together a dubby & dancehall influenced tribal tune. “Gravitate” carries all the necessary vibes to get the dance floor shifting in a state of disarray.

“Shokunin” comes into play with warm, soothing synth pads. The tune captures bottomless vibes from point insertion, quickly formulating into a moody half step vibe. Strong melodic notes wrap themselves around tightly knit drum work. A gentle touch of synth exists around thought brooding harmony that Subtle Mind has worked into this track. I really enjoy the lead melody in this track. It melts into the rhythm. The movement in the drum work ties together wondrously with atmosphere created. Already after track 2, this EP puts forth a more intellectual presence. These tracks each signify a more though evoking approach to writing dubstep, and it is refreshing to hear it come through the music like so.

Track 3 takes it even deeper and more moody. “On Deck” takes the listener deep into the cerebral, ushering a strong contemplative attitude. Soft shakers paired with the emotive feeling of the keyboards bring together an almost depressive & reflective energy. Following the drop the vibe pushes on with beautifully crafted horns. Mellow jazzy elements are showcased as apart of the background in “On Deck”. The feeling drawn together resonates of reflective thought and sincere emotion. Late night vibes through and through with this track, as I am sure it would be suited for the headphones on a rainy day.

“Inner Self” finds itself’ as track 4 on the EP. This tune grew on me rather quickly. I have always been drawn to the jazzier side of the music. The track begins with a grand scale of atmospheric presence. The intro carries a diva like vocal through the speakers with a nice 2-step drum pattern in the foreground. Subtle Mind was on point with the vibes when they created this track. It truly possesses a deep, trance inducing presence. The percussion breaks assimilate brilliantly with the vocal touch and horns. I refuse to believe that there is a person out there that would find this track un-appealing, “Inner Self” reflects upon the deeper end of the music. This tune leaves a lasting impression and is sure to instill some serious thoughts into the open-minded listener.

Last but not least is “Sand Snake”. This is probably my first pick off the Gravitate EP from Subtle Mind. The track starts with a swift tribal pattern and an eastern influence from the duduk, which it’s an Armenian clarinet. The synth work pushes forward a sense of precedence, almost like they are foreshadowing the progression in the phrases that follow.  Deep and archaic vibes coexist with vintage mid-ranges, dense with effects remind me of productions of the past – still the track has a fresh vibe to it altogether. Paired with the drum work, the bass weight fosters a serious movement. Clever pauses of silence highlight the minimalistic elements of the track, as the pauses are followed by subtle progression with the drum work and synth pads.

TUBAd004 is released November 11th and available from Juno Download.

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