The London-based label colony productions (sic) has a relatively low output, offering a scant 34 releases though 18 years of existence. But those few releases are all up to par with even the most challenging current works of bass magic. Boasting recent releases from Triptych, K.L.O (and a solo album by Lone Drum), and now Colorado wunderkind DreamWalker, the imprint remains as much of a relevant force today as it was in the early 2000's when it was created by Dave Tipper and Mike Wallis to release their collaborative project Crunch.
Through its fierce experimentalism, this new three-track DreamWalker release Exodus slides neatly into both the label's catalogue and into DreamWalker's own small discography. Alongside his first EP, the self-released Reality Control, we see his commitment to psychedelic bass as a means of storytelling. More focused on tone, mood, and composition than flexing sound design chops, Exodus is a sure mark of balance and growth for the 24-year-old midtempo magician.
While Exodus is a full track shorter than Reality Control, it makes better use of its time to generate an emotional response from the listener. Beginning with a low and slow dub, the masterful bass drips with atmosphere and drenches the opener “The Gate” with an intense yet withdrawn attitude. The commanding presence of strings tightens the attention as the threatening door creak, reverb snaps, and the wind-up gear sounds create the sensation of a wide open space. There’s a slight climax which builds atmosphere as the EP moves toward its true peak and title track, which steps onto the scene ready to break the beat.
A fancy arpeggio-laden synth in “Exodus” double-times notes with a clean, digital voice both fiercely rhythmic and conversationally melodic; this is the brain of the track, asserting itself in the dark dub setting. A warm fuzz takes over in the second half, introducing distortion before ripping into hardcore saws and heavy midbass roars. After “Exodus” blows the listener away with unpredictable and imaginative harshness, sounds both intense and cerebral mix to form a coherent marriage of mind and body before fading into black.
The final track “Stem Slime” is effectively wraps the release by not overextending the mood created across the EP. It’s a strong glitch-hop track in its own right (the composition of whiz-bang sound is replete with shocking novelty), but the built-up atmosphere lacks true layering and then dissipates almost entirely, which may leave listeners wanting. The bleep bloops and drip drops are pretty wild and raucous, but the spacious sensation and dark dub setting from the first two tracks is absent, overpowered by an outpouring of creative noises.
DreamWalker’s creative edge is sharply felt on Exodus. The release possesses a unifying mood, and the individual expressions of each track are not lost through the EP’s overall transition from dark dub to glitch hop. DreamWalker's commitment to beautiful oscillations is undoubtedly a gift to seekers of cutting edge sound design. Given the caliber of the producers who have released on colony productions, Exodus puts DreamWalker in the realms of giants, and he measures up decently.