Review: Wen & Parris – Caught / Collide [TEMPA091]

As of late #MinimalMondays has freshened up a bit with Yunx dipping into swampier territories. Old classics like ‘Swims’ and up to date 130 adds some swing after the departure of famed MC Toast. ‘Official’ recent moves have appeared with Nomine’s dub/tech/house soundscape of ‘Mindfulness’ off his ‘Enma / Zen Circle’ release. For the latest offering from perennial taste-maker Tempa, Keysound darlings, Wen and Parris team up for Tempa’s continued flirtation with slower tempos and lots of low slung bass. ‘Caught’ and ‘Collide’ come armed with spacious, zero-g atmospherics, future – tribal percussion, and b-lines rooted in the system tradition in aspects of weight while armed with a slinky, noir shuffle. Both are perfect and respectable DJ tools for the more exploratory dub-heads amongst us. Tempa seems to be finally seeing what darker 130 bass labels ala Pinch’s Cold Recordings or Keysound have been pushing for quite some time.

‘Caught’ slithers and coils around a bleeping melodic phrase, almost with a woodblock-like timbre. Eski swipes grime up the clinical, sterile atmosphere of space as a self-encircling vocal plays and dances around your head with the simple, childish words “you’ve been caught”. Spliced and reconstituted like a fine amen break, the vocal morphs and takes new forms. Loose toms jingle across a shambling rhythmic structure with tumbling sub-weight that it sure to put a quality rig through the paces. For how dark the beat is, Wen & Parris maintain a sense of fun and playfulness with interesting percussive flourishes that really add some character overall. It’s a mongrel track that contains the necessary ingredients reminiscent of those early 2011 Swamp81 shows where every tune became an instant classic.

Going in on a more serious, meditative tip on the flip with ‘Collide’. Geared with watery hi-hats that emerge from the vacuum of space, ‘Collide’ possess more slink and a Beneath-like rolling quality to it. It’s tribalist kinks and subtly sexy breathy vocals caress whereas the bass ripples through bodies. Barely there, ghostly sonar blips scan the dance for signs of life as if the dancers where turned into something inhuman. Everything is ripped apart, leaving the mists of deep space to gather around a voice (possibly David Carradine) speaking on the masochism of man. The sample seems chopped or edited in some way that gives it an uneasy and vaguely threatening menace to it, as if it can see your soul around the edges of your eyes.

From the looks of it, Tempa is slowly inching its way towards the direction the numerous labels like Osiris, Keysound, and Cold Recordings have – finding the inky, black paranoid 130 tunes amongst the hordes of more bright tech-house/deep house/any other kind of house that has flooded dance floors across the world. Hopefully they keep mining this sound as the past couple of releases by Tempa have been, in all accounts, sonically conservative leaning towards traditional half-time dubstep. Both ‘Caught’ and ‘Collide’ shake Tempa out of this rut and are sure to be in the bags of the more forward thinking dubsteppers.

TEMPA091 is out now and available from Juno Download.

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