Scottish producer DFRNT delivers three deep and soulful tracks of atmospheric dubstep on his latest EP, Saturation Point. The title track uses widescreen synths as cushioned subs lay in front of distant percussion. "Lament" sees moody piano keys and rhythmic twists create a sense of drama that is then shared by EP finale, "Parka Dub", in which the Scot merges dub techno with lashings of trip-hop.
After a number of singles and EPs dating back to 2008, Edinburgh producer DFRNT drops his epic 23 track debut album and it's a masterpiece of post-dubstep chilledness and glacial beats. More laidback than contemporaries like Martyn, Kode9, Pangea and Skream, opener "Wake Up" sounds as though it's slowly emerging from a forest, with deep delay on the percussion and a slowly unravelling filter. The beats kick in on "The Warmest" though, but only at a slow and sparse rate leaving plenty of time for each note to register and the melody to pierce through.
Not all of Metafiction operates at such a brutally slow tempo though. "Epitome" for example is lively, with echo-laden hats rattling at around 125bpm. But the beats are never allowed to dominate the mix and are more suggestive and subtle than hard and danceable. Instead, just take in the beautiful soundscapes DFRNT creates. With the help of reversed and processed guitars on "Aftermath" or flutes on "Headspace," he creates a genuinely unique and highly original sound that defies categorisation, but which cements itself in your head over the course of the album. It's also worth hearing the accompanying mixes by Ital Tek, Quantec and Synkro among others for an interesting perspective on DFRNT's style. Viciously contemporary and a whole new frontier in chilled music, Metafiction comes strongly recommended.
Echodub bossman Alex Cowles (better known, production-wise, under his DFRNT moniker) can usually be relied on to provide some authentically ocean-deep sounds. That's certainly the case on this varied EP for 2020 Vision offshoot Fina. At times, it sounds as if he's been listening to classic records by fellow Edinburgh native Aqua Bassino (the calming, jazzy "The Way You Look at Me" and intoxicating, super-deep "Start Changing Tempo"), while at others, he seems to have imbued just the right amount of fine single malt (check the sleepy midtempo vibes of "Sugar Free" and the pulsing sub and dreamy vocals of "Nobody Stop Me"). Throughout, there's a delicious musicality at work that's never less than delightful.