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White Noise: Artifact – Archaic Line

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Artifact – Archaic Line

Label: Deadplate

Archaic Line


Just as Dance genres cycle in and out of popularity (see the recent re-emergences of House and Acid compared to Dubstep’s bloated death), so the UK dance scene constantly moves between darker and lighter periods, with a hard-nosed grit or an airy euphoria generally signalling each respective change. It seems that Bass music, so inundated last year by fluttering synths and saccharine RnB vocals, is on the turn, and Artifact’s first big release on new imprint Deadplate is one of the best examples yet of this new, darker Bass sound. Artifact, hailing from Bristol, pulls out all the stops on this release, crafting two sublime pieces of Garage-inflected Bass that are not only powerfully atmospheric, but that would obviously be massive on the dancefloor.

Title cut Archaic Line is all sharp, scattered percussion and dangerous bass wobbles, with gorgeous details like the paranoid cowbell or the mutating clipped synth melody coming to the fore over a threatening soundscape. It’s a really impressive piece that I can tell you from experience is absolutely killer in a club setting, and remix duties are left to Graphics on the B-side. The remix keeps the ghostly ambience but speeds up the percussion, shifting certain elements like the cowbell to the front of the mix while introducing great additional touches like the indecipherable vocal sample and the big bouncing bassline that underpins the lot. While remixes added to 12” releases often seem to be lacking in imagination, Graphics really pulls it off by reconstructing the track to do something different enough to be worth an independent listen while remaining true to the sonic elements and mood of the original.

B-side Deserted is perhaps even better than the title cut, with some moody synthwork introducing the first violent drop, where a harshly bitcrushed bass bounce dominates the fleeting vocal lines. It’s an intense and atmospheric piece, made all the more spectacular by the spare breakdown three minutes in where the only element present is that stark bass stab. With both tracks proving rather spectacular and a top-notch remix, Artifact has certainly hit the big leagues running, and this is a must-have for any DJs who want to trade in that dark, moody sound.


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