Review: Sarantis – Electric City (Senseless Records)

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Sarantis originally hails from Athens, but has been a part of UK’s bass scene for nearly a decade. He has been played by such artists as Skream, Mary Anne Hobbs and Digital Mystikz, and has had guest vocalists as Iration Steppas and Warrior Queen. Electric City isn’t touted in the promotion as a trap album, but rather as an album based on Sarantis’ musical influences. It is – however – basically is an excursion into dancehall, trap and grime.

The album starts with the 8-bit arpeggio bombast of ‘Electric City’, which hints of seething sounds to come. This is ruined by a particularly unoriginal and annoying track ‘A Serious Ting’, which didn’t suit in as a dancehall cut with the rest of <em>Electric City</em>, which had more of a trap/hip-hop feel. The rest of the album had more of a trap/hip-hop feel. I point this out as I regard this as a mistake in the continuity of the whole album.

The album regained its footing in following tracks, but I was frustrated as a listener. Whilst there is a certain palatable eerieness and control to Electric City‘s sweeping background basslines, the continuous 8-bit mario jump, sci-fi and vox stabs in tracks like ‘Heartless’ are like a drunken toddler being let loose with an ice pick.

Tracks like ‘On The Floor’ and ‘Die Trying’ have more rolling bassline flow and interesting sounds inserted, but again Electric City is tainted by hip-hop samples, which break any immersion into its atmosphere. These sort of sample stabs sound like a overly enthusiastic teenager fooling around with a MPC controller.

There are instances hinting of bass music mastery in tracks like ‘You’re Not Going Anywhere’, which hit the mark and brought the game up for the whole new bass/trap sound. This was achieved through reserved focus on overall track progression, and by putting the ultra-dope hip-hop facade aside in favour of building atmosphere. ‘Fourth Rider’ also nails the contemporary trap sound, and I liked the revisiting of grime styles in tracks like ‘Are You Mad’.

Excellent music for hype kids with #yoloswag for days, but pretty annoying for the more mature listener. Electric City is great for the club, but will get old quickly, as there wasn’t really much focus in direction of this album as a whole work. And bass producers, please please please stop with the vox stabs or I’ll never listen to anything labelled as trap ever again.

Link: http://senselessrecords.bandcamp.com/album/electric-city

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