London based collecive eatmybeat finally launch as a label; their first ever release, ‘Gong Tau’, is Hypho’s debut appearance on wax.
Hypho kicks off his debut vinyl release with a literal bang. Tension builds very quickly, with reverse sound effects and immense reverbs creating a sense of foreboding and the rapid hats and other percussion almost trying to scurry away from the impending drop. It becomes apparent very quickly that there’s an intense amount of detail in every element, and this is true for each track on the release. The breaks scattered throughout ‘Gong Tau’ are so crisp they cut through everything else in the mix. The constant percussion pans subtly left and right, giving the track it’s momentum whilst other sounds in the background wallow in reverb. The kick is absolutely massive, also acting as the main source of bass, though it’s straddled by less prominent womps, wobs and wobbles. The tension is hardly relieved by the vocal sample, which sounds as if it was lifted straight from a horror movie, as well as an even more sinister, pitch-dropping vocal that closely resembles a laugh. As a whole, ‘Gong Tau’ gives off a Tribal meets Techno meets UK bass vibe with a smattering of breaks, all brought together with production of the highest quality.
The second track off the EP, Shen, opens softly compared to the title track. A single, cold chord repeats as echoes from sound effects collide into each other, again creating a sense of uneasiness. The drums, are bold and dominate the mix. This works perfectly, as the 808-like kick once more doubles as the bassline. Though, in terms of traditional drums, there is only a kick, clap and a few hi hats working together, Shen cleverly maintains momentum using the exquisite echoes of background percussion and the simple genius of a panning-whilst-pitching-down hat. There’s also more breaks scattered about, though more subtle in the mix than on Gong Tau. Another clever touch is the way the cadence of the main riff changes, meaning even though the notes don’t differ, the way they’re delivered makes sure the tune doesn’t get repetitive. On first listen we thought that, if sped up, Shen would be a perfectly viable Trap tune. The huge subby kick, quickly flicking between octaves, the build up of the claps before drops and the main riff all definitely give off that of vibe.
To wrap things up is probably the most dancefloor-centric track of the release. If you were to judge off the first 30 seconds, you’d be forgiven for thinking things were going to go the same way as the 2 tracks before, but in comparison it seems more upbeat and breaks away from the anxiety and tension dragged up by Gong Tau and Shen. Though quite clearly not acid house, the 303 is definitely the main focus of the track, backed up by a final massive sub shaking kick drum and tribal percussion. It seems the rest of the drums are sat back in the mix to let the kick do it’s thing, though that’s not to say they don’t sound brilliant yet again. 5AM Workout works as a solid closing track for the EP, rounding everything off superbly as the final echoes fade away.
Selecta’s Favourite Track: Shen
Overall Rating: 9/10
Absolutely top class debut release for eatmybeat, and for Hypho’s first time on wax too. A masterclass in immaculate percussion and top rate mixdowns and the spaces created by reverbs and echoes are genius too. Hypho has expertly combined a load of varied influences and turned them into his own brand of speaker shaking bass music with an insanely keen ear for detail. Budding producers take note because these production standards are through the roof.