Gravious - Junction City EP - Saigon Rec
Gravious, one of Glasgow's earliest exponents of dubstep (Kode9 doesn't count, he's from Wishaw) returns with a 3-track EP on Saigon recordings, who's debut 12" from Orphan101 was one of the more interesting releases I came across last year. Gravious' first release, Wormsign / Monolith was a brooding mass of almost imperceptible bass-frequencies, sparse percussion and Tubby-esque echochamber work, chewing up everything from grime and jungle, to dub and the sound emerging from London at the time. It was an absolute beast, and I remember a live set in the 13th Note (for Tronic, I think) totally blowing me away a couple of years back.
This 3-track EP, is frankly, great bass music from a producer who's grown massively over the years - the title track beasts in with syncopated percussion battling against a very techno synth on the 4/4, the hi-end being taken up by Joker-esque pixel melodies that rattle around with frustrated energy. Dynamic breakdowns and big filter sweeps make for a seriously beatiful experience, and Gravious manages to throw in a little bit of everything without turning schizophrenic, shifting time signature on the final 32 and moving into Autechre / Plaid territory. Nice.
Following this up, Lodestone begins as a much darker proposition, all skulking bassline and fractured breaks that sounds like 2562 minus the bongos, before a delicate plucked melody takes over, and it morphs into some kind of post-modern trance variant. Devolving the Ibiza big-room sound and scattering it over the brooding fragments of the intro to merge both the euphoric and the melancholic perfectly.
Final track, Lunar Module, is suitably cosmic, showing that Gravious has been keeping a keen ear on Rustie, Joker, Gemmy and the rest, and has really learnt how to craft rich sounds in his career. Junction City deserves to something as big as Bad Science or Brkn Clln, and it's a pretty special effort from a producer who's grown massively, but for those who were hoping for more of the shuddering darkness a la Martyn, Shackleton etc, this is much more of a 'pop' EP - a searing bag of dancefloor destroyers. Get it bought.