Liam Murphy

December 11, 2022

Tracks in this feature

Tracks in this release

Confident drum and bass beats meet with crystalline instrumentation on this release

Slick sounds and textures in electronic music are no new phenomenon. Anyone with access to a DAW can pull up a sound that uses clean, crisp tones and use it to begin a constructing a pristine sonic painting. There is a proliferation of clean-sounding music made in the wake of garage and D&B specifically, as producers attempt to make the – now crunchy and low fidelity – sounds and characteristics sparkle. But, unless done well or with an interesting concept at its heart, often this super-clean sounding music extracts the fun and entertainment out of the style itself. 

Almost toying with these notions of authenticity from the get-go, nuphory’s ditherdream1 begins with the laboured whirring of an old Mac, followed by a pitch-shifted sample of Brian Eno’s classic start-up sound. From the moment this sound plays, the artist sets to work creating an inviting and engaging soundscape to couch the sample in. With the challenge of appropriating a sound used quite frequently in electronic music, both for its melodic merit and in reference to the tech-heavy age we live in, nuphory enlists the help of Pizza Hotline for this opening track. Having proven himself an aficionado with old-school sounds on his much-loved project Level Up, the two artists work together on a track that conjures images of deep blue oceans and open skies passing at great speeds, surroundings blurring into one fluid vision. There are moments in which nuphory cuts up the drum samples, letting it stutter and the shiny aesthetic falter, but there isn’t anything too disruptive presented in order to create a generally laidback rhythmic feeling. Trickling water can be heard at points, as the now-decades old Eno sample disappears behind original melody and becomes one with a thoughtful electronic style, made modern through leaning towards tranquil melodies.

This carries over into nautilus with the main melody line emerging gracefully through birdsong and natural sounds with the timbre and rippling beauty of clear water. The drum sequencing here is a little more adventurous as nuphory creates a pressurised feeling with pacy phasing percussion and a brighter clattering snare to supply a momentum. The melody line allows for this space for experimentation purely off of its alluring sound, the first few notes of which take us diving somewhere deep. This feeling is aided by the hallowed aqueous echoes that follow with each note, conjuring visions of a deep watery depths filled with crystalline water. The listener moves between breaching this water in moments of respite, to diving back down as the beat reintroduces itself. Somehow, nuphory manages to glide down the very middle of old and new-sounding drum and bass. There is a syrup-y feeling to it, but a rewarding texture that harkens back pre-millennium music that popularised the sound.

More atmospheric sounds present themselves on the aptly-named deep blue. Pairing up with SAM WAITIN on this occasion, nuphory dedicates the first part of the track to world-building. Shardy pads meet with more echoed percussion signifying depth. From here the artists implement a classic jungle percussion fit with a tuneful hi-hat, chirping out an infectious rhythm. As we warm up in our plunge into azure blue landscapes the clattering percussion is kept safely behind the blooming pad sounds, furrowing back out of earshot as dulcet keys create a lounge feeling at the bottom of an ocean trench. All this changes however, as the artists allow the hi-hat/snare rhythm to take centre stage alongside a heavy, sub-bass. Here the listener gets a true sense that the artists a channeling something from the past as the track hits out with an energy many will find on 90s sets by artists such as Mouly or Peshay. That same buoyant instrumentation with a sense of tranquility in the melody.

aerowalk brings us to the EP’s conclusion with confident kick drums thumping past a cascading melody. An angsty tune soothed by the euphoric characteristics at first, before nuphory sends everything gliding at high speeds with breakneck pads, juddering but still maintaining a rich sound. Here, the slick sounds are on full display as the artist combines lush soundscapes with tranquil instrumentation, supercharging it with incredibly sequenced percussion.

So often, slick sounding EPs, albums or singles come out that are pleasurable to the ears, but lack substance. But not often is it that listeners are offered a release that provides a rich, rewarding sound with unmistakable care and precision. This is what dreamdither1 delivers. The crisp production is backed up by an obvious adoration of the style of music, and supported by two guest producers, the EP is a joy to listen to.