Coki - Don't Get it Twisted (DMZ 23rd January)
DMZ have done a great deal of good as part of London's bass music scene, and I was particularaly vocal about Mala's epic remix of the Moritz Von Oswald Quartet; their cross-over into more techno-influenced territory and gigs in Berghain have only served to cement my respect for the work they do. However this record from Coki feels like a step backwards, a regression to dubstep's ket-friendly, strictly-formula blend of massive basslines and loping percussion that feels tired and done to death. Tree Trunk opens the record promisingly with Carpenter-esque horror-synths and breathy atmospherics, building the kind of hypnotic dub Pinch or Martyn do on their best days. And then the bassline comes in. All nippy high-end and wrenching pitch shift, it murders the majority of the mix and is an unpleasantly abrasive addition to what was shaping up quite nicely - when the drop hits, it reverts back to being a well-engineered, intriguing track. Following it up with Lower Octave, Coki fires back in with exactly the same kind of nagging look-at-me sawtooth synthline that dominates everything in sight, and the predictable one-and-threes kick & snare pattern. Obviously it's a question of taste, but in comparison to the substantial body of work Coki had amassed, and the reputation of DMZ, this feels immature and badly-worked.
The biggest shame about this record is that the second plate is a pretty solid piece of work - Celestial Dub's hydro-inflected organ is a thing of beauty and adds a much needed dubby element to the record, offsetting it with mental levels of delay on everything. Everything. Leaving aside the brain-melting basslines, Coki builds up a very competent and blissfully stoned steppa's riddim that deserves a good run out. The fourth side of this EP again throws a total curveball, and garners that same "what the hell has he been smoking?" reaction that Boomba brought out - the bassline flip-flops around, contorting and meandering, whilst a plethora of Bomberman melodies skew across the top. It's as abrasive as anything off the first disk, but the level of surrealism and completely over-the-top nature make it a genuinely interesting piece of work. Buy the tracks digitally.