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White Noise: Brenmar – Let’s Pretend EP

Friday, 11 November 2011

Brenmar – Let’s Pretend EP

Let's Pretend

Temperature Rising

Done (Don't Luv Me No More)

Brooklyn-based producer Bill Salas has certainly had a very busy year; with two EPs, a good few sleek mixes and his own touring schedule to grapple with, he’s managed impressively to embrace the producer’s life. However, good time management and a prolific approach to releases does not a great artist make. In the increasingly crowded scene fusing Bass and Juke with a more-than-healthy amount of RnB, can Salas truly stand out from his peers? On the basis of these three tracks (and a clubby remix), I’d say the answer is a definitive yes.

His release earlier this year on Sinden’s Grizzly label, Let Me Make (Tasting) was a densely layered selection of club hits, and here he’s taken a cooler approach, giving his rhythms and samples more room to breathe. It’s a great move, because Salas clearly knows his way around his production kit and the added space in these tunes really works to his benefit. The Chris Brown-sampling title track combines bouncing bass and pained RnB vocals, with a choice synthline introduced a couple of minutes in to great effect. It’s a nice tune but honestly in today’s bass scene it doesn’t really sound particularly special. Fortunately, the same can’t be said at all for Brenmar’s two other productions on the EP, which easily rank among the best of his work and are a pure pleasure to listen to.

The aptly-titled second cut Temperature Rising announces itself with a restrained bassline and synth stabs, before bursting into a brilliant and propulsive bass number. For me, the thing Brenmar does best and most distinctively throughout this EP is his excellent vocal sampling, often leaving entire phrases to run before echoing offstage, or looping the start of a phrase before letting it play out. Both techniques are used here to fantastic effect, and this track could be perfectly placed in any bass/RnB flavoured mix. It’s also insanely sexed-up, for anyone who’s interested, from the sultry breakdown to the lyrics themselves (“spread yourself all over the bed ... you should feel my nature too”). This track alone would be enough, but Brenmar manages to step it up another notch for his final piece, Done (Don’t Luv Me No More)¸which is easily the standout track of the EP. Here stomping bass, synth stabs and condensed finger clicks combine into a dark banger, with RnB samples chopped into jukey snatches to absolutely stunning effect. The track mutates every so often, the percussion and sub-bass slowly becoming more and more prominent until it all comes together beautifully for the close. MikeQ takes over remix duties on Done, straightening it out with a solid beat and more concrete rhythms. The outcome is definitely a nice listen, but it’s hardly essential.

This EP is surely the best thing Brenmar’s put out to date, and the two latter tracks are easily some of the nicest in their field I’ve heard this month. The bass scene is becoming rather overpopulated, yes, but when the talent is this fantastic it’s hard to care.


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